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The Tenth Amendment Center reported late last week that a Rhode Island House Bill has been brought to the table that would legalize marijuana for recreational use. House Bill 7752 was submitted by Rep. Scott Slater (D-10) on Feb. 25 as well as four bipartisan co-sponsors. If H.7752 is successfully approved, Rhode Island would be the first state to fully legalize recreational marijuana through the state legislature instead of through the ballot initiative process.

The legislation affirms the following as cited from

Prohibiting the cultivation and sale of marijuana to adults has proven to be an ineffective, unfair, and costly policy for the state of Rhode Island. In the absence of a legal, tightly regulated market, an illicit marijuana industry has thrived, undermining the public health and safety of Rhode Islanders.

H.7752 would legalize marijuana by putting in new regulations that allow for the possession and distribution of marijuana through the marketplace. It reads as follows:

(1) A person who is twenty-one or older is immune from facing arrest, civil or criminal penalty, seizure or forfeiture of assets, discipline by any state or local licensing board, and state prosecution for the following acts:

(i) Directly and effectively consuming, accessing, purchasing, transporting, or possessing one ounce (1 oz) or less of marijuana, not including marijuana products;

(ii) Directly and effectively consuming, accessing, purchasing, transporting, or possessing marijuana products containing no more than three hundred milligrams (300 mg) of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol;

(iii) Controlling 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…

(iv) Consuming, accessing, manufacturing, producing, purchasing, transporting, or possessing, directly or effectively, marijuana paraphernalia;

(v) Selling, delivering, or transferring, marijuana seeds to a marijuana establishment or to a person who is twenty-one (21) years of age or older;

Although House Bill H.7752 would be just the tip of the iceberg in getting rid of one tier of laws prohibiting the possession, cultivation or use of marijuana, but federal prohibition would maintain its position.

No doubt about it, the federal government shows scarcity when it comes to taking it to the next level concerning the regulation of marijuana within the confines of a state. Being that the Rhode Island bill will not reshape federal law, it is still a major step to take toward repealing federal ban.

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