Representative Dennis Canario introduced legislation to create a 15-member commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. The legislation, 2017 – H 5551, would help the state determine if legalization is the right path. The commission would be charged with providing a proper recommendation for the state.
Examples for the state to use as guides are Colorado and Washington, according to Portsmouth Press. The fiscal and overall impact of legalization will be studied. If the bill passes legislation, the commission will choose its panel members rather quickly.
Representative Canario is a retired police officer.
He said, “The potential effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island would have drastic impacts to the fabric of our state and this commission is necessary to determine if those effects would come with positive or negative outcomes.”
He also said, “There is too much at stake from both a financial and a public health standpoint to rush into legalization because Massachusetts has elected to do so. This commission will take a thoughtful and data-driven approach to determine if legalizing marijuana is the right move for Rhode Island.”
The commission would be created of members from these organizations:
- 3 House of Representatives members
- 3 Senators
- 1 from Smart Approaches to Marijuana
- Substance Use Mental Health Council of Rhode Island President – or – a special designee
- Pro-legalization organization member
- Rhode Island Medical Society director – or – special designee
- Chamber of Commerce member
- Department of Health director – or – special designee
- Rhode Island Attorney General’s office member
- 1 representing the state’s medical marijuana patients
The bill is currently in the hands of the House Committee on Judiciary and has four co-sponsors.