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Rhode Island Becomes 19th State Legalize Cannabis

Rhode Island Becomes 19th State To Legalize Cannabis

Legislation signed by Governor McKee makes Rhode Island the 19th state to legalize and regulate adult-use recreational cannabis.

The Rhode Island Cannabis Act was approved by the House by a vote of 55-16 and the Senate by a vote of 32-6. The measure permits individuals over 21 to possess, buy, and cultivate cannabis.

Gov. Dan McKee signed the Rhode Island Cannabis Act into law on May 25, 2022, making it legal and regulated in the state for adults to consume for recreational purposes. McKee describes the legalization of cannabis in Rhode Island as “a win for our state both socially and economically.” In accordance with this legislation, prior civil or criminal marijuana possession convictions may be expunged.

“Since Rhode Islanders can already access cannabis just across the state border or on the illicit market, we experience all the challenges without any of the safeguards or resources that our neighboring states have. With this bill, we are ending prohibition in a way that is safe, keeps revenue in Rhode Island, and is as fair and equitable as we can possibly make it,” said bill sponsor Sen. Joshua Miller.

Under the new law, possession and home-growing of cannabis is now legal for adults age 21 and older, and in-store sales may begin as soon as December 1. 

All sales will be subject to a 20% tax, which will be divided into three fees: a 7% sales tax, a 10% cannabis tax, and a 3% municipal tax.

Similar to other surrounding states, the measure permits the allocation of tax proceeds from cannabis sales to low-income areas that have suffered the most from cannabis prohibition. This “Social Equity Assistance Fund” will provide grant money, job training, and social assistance.

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