cannabis flower bud

When Did Rhode Island’s Legislature Approve Cannabis Legalization?

Providence, RI: Both chambers of the Rhode Island legislature voted today to legalize and regulate the adult-use cannabis market.

“By passing this legislation, Rhode Island’s lawmakers have acted in a manner that reflects the will of their constituents and replaces the failed policy of criminalization with one of legalization and regulation,” said NORML’s Executive Director Erik Altieri, “With this vote, Rhode Island becomes the latest, but not the last, state to add yet another nail to prohibition’s coffin. We urge the governor to quickly sign this measure into law and usher in cannabis freedom to the residents of the Ocean State.”

If signed into law, the “Rhode Island Cannabis Act,” would allow adult Rhode Islanders age 21 and up to possess, home-cultivate, and purchase limited amounts of cannabis. It also facilitates the automatic review and expungement of past criminal records. The Act also includes provisions for re-investing tax revenue from cannabis sales into those communities that were previously most harmed by prohibition, as well as programs to aid social equity applicants seeking to enter the market.

“Ending the prohibition of cannabis is about more than tax revenue. The human consequences of cannabis prohibition have lasting ramifications. This long-awaited legislation will work to rectify past wrongs while also moving Rhode Island forward toward a brighter future.,” said Jax James, NORML’s State Policy Manager.

Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee has indicated his support for the measure and he is expected to put his signature on the Rhode Island Cannabis Act when it reaches his desk.


NORML advocates for changes in public policy so that the responsible possession and use of marijuana by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties. NORML further advocates for a regulated commercial cannabis market so that activities involving the for-profit production and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products are safe, transparent, consumer-friendly, and are subject to state and/or local licensure. Finally, NORML advocates for additional changes in legal and regulatory policies so that those who use marijuana responsibly no longer face either social stigma or workplace discrimination, and so that those with past criminal records for marijuana-related violations have the opportunity to have their records automatically expunged.

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Source: NORML emailed press release