Rhode Island Lawmakers Consider Cannabis Legalization to Combat State’s Budget Deficit

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Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a cannabis legalization proposal that was put forth by Gov. Gina Raimondo in January in an effort to combat the state’s budget deficit, according to The Boston Globe.

When Raimondo included the cannabis legalization proposal in her state budget plan earlier this year, Senate leadership opposed the plan, which would establish state-run cannabis retailers, The Boston Globe reported.

During the Nov. 6 Senate Democratic caucus, however, lawmakers seemed more receptive to legalization to counteract the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the news outlet.

Raimondo’s budget proposal projected roughly $21.8 million in revenue from cannabis sales in fiscal year 2020, The Boston Globe reported, as well as $21.1 million in 2021 and $39.6 million in 2022.

The Rhode Island Legislature has not yet approved a budget due to delays stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the news outlet, and the Senate Finance Committee met Nov. 18 to hear testimony on budget articles, including the one addressing cannabis legalization, although the issue is not expected to be taken up until 2021.

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