Rhode Island Bill Would Legalize Recreational Marijuana, Reject Federal Prohibition

A bill introduced in Rhode Island would authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol, legalizing the plant, and effectively rejecting the federal prohibition on the same.

Senate Bill 510 (S.510) was introduced on Feb. 26 by State Sens. Josh Miller (D-28), Paul Jabour (D-5), Donna Nesselbush (D-15), Michael McCaffrey (D-29), and Sue Sosnowski (D-37). If this bill is successful, Rhode Island would become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes through the legislature rather than the popular vote.

S.510 would allow an individual over the age of 21 to possess, use, obtain, purchase and transport up to one ounce of marijuana. In addition, individuals would be allowed to possess up to five grams of hashish, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused solid products, and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquid products.

Individuals would be able to possess, cultivate, grow, process and transport no more than two marijuana plants under the bill, with one of the plants allowed to be mature and flowering. S.510 states that "marijuana must be cultivated indoors in an enclosed, locked, location" and must "not occur in a location where the marijuana plants are subject to public view, including from another private property, without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids."

Possession and distribution of marijuana seeds and paraphenalia would also be legalized under S.510. Individuals would be allowed to control "any premises or vehicle where persons who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older possess, process, or store amounts of marijuana and marijuana products" that are made lawful under the bill.

Under S.510, it would still remain a criminal office to smoke marijuana in a public place. Usage of marijuana in ways not specifically outlined in the bill would remain criminalized as well. Prospective distributors must pay up to $5000 in licensure fees in order to become a lawful marijuana retailer in the state. Marijuana retail operations must be enacted 1000 feet away from existing school buildings.

Bills like S.510 are sweeping the nation, and for good reason. Reforms like these can affect federal policy while circumventing the Washington D.C. power structure completely. 

The momentum is on our side, but Rhode Island cannot legalize it without your help. This effort needs your support to achieve victory. S.510 is currently in Senate Committee on Judiciary where it will need to successfully pass through before it can receive a full vote in the state senate.

ACTION ITEMS

If you live in the state of Rhode Island, take measures to support this bill HERE.

If you live in different state, 
contact your state legislators and urge them to introduce a supporting bill to S.510 such as our P.E.A.C.E (Preventing Excessive Allocations for Cannabis Enforcement) Act.