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RI Senate Bill No. 420 would legalize recreational marijuana

The Rhode Island Senate's Adult Use of Cannabis Act was assigned Bill No. 420.

This could be the year recreational marijuana is legalized in Rhode Island.

After voters in Massachusetts legalized marijuana in November, the pressure has been building in Rhode Island.

Two bills have been introduced in the General Assembly -- one in the House and one in the Senate (where it was assigned Bill No. 420, no less) -- and both have been referred to judiciary committees.

There is no word yet on when there could be public hearings on what's becoming a big talker in the state.

But the two authors of the bills, state Sen. Joshua Miller, D-Cranston, and state Rep. Scott Slater, D-Providence, told the Providence Journal that they believe there are enough votes in the General Assembly to legalize marijuana in Rhode Island this year.

The reason supporters say 2017 is the time to act is because Massachusetts has already done so.

Regulate Rhode Island, a group advocating for legalization, released a new report that says if Rhode Island does nothing, the state would be giving away tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue to Massachusetts and would also be losing out on potentially hundreds of jobs.

The report said Rhode Island could potentially bring in $48.3 million in tax revenue each year if pot is legalized.

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