Gov. Raimondo calls for legalization of recreational marijuana, cites neighboring states

    Gov. Raimondo calls for legalization of recreational marijuana, cites neighboring states (WJAR)

    Gov. Gina Raimondo's 2019 budget proposal will include the legalization of recreational marijuana.

    Gov. Raimondo's press secretary Josh Block confirmed the proposal to NBC 10 Sunday.

    "As our neighboring states move forward with legal marijuana, the Governor is mindful of its impact on Rhode Island, from law enforcement to public health," said Block in statement.

    Block said the governor's proposal will ensure Rhode Island has the "strongest regulatory framework for adult-use marijuana in the nation."

    Gov. Raimondo spoke on the issue with NBC 10's Gene Valicenti about legalization in December saying, "The reason to do it is not money. The reason I am looking at it is because Massachusetts is doing it, Connecticut is doing it. Like it or not we are going to have to deal with it."

    Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he still has some concerns about legalization.

    "I appreciate the Governor's viewpoints and I have expressed similar concerns about our neighboring states moving forward with legalization, leaving Rhode Island to bear the social costs without the benefit of the revenue. However, I still have mixed feelings. My House colleagues have strong and differing viewpoints, and we will collectively assess the Governor's proposal and come up with a consensus pathway forward."

    Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha said his office will carefully review the governor's proposal and will work with Raimondo's office to ensure all angles of the issue are examined.

    "Attorney General Neronha recognizes that as surrounding states legalize the recreational use of marijuana, it is increasingly difficult for Rhode Island to do otherwise," said Neronha's spokeswoman.

    Neronha said its "imperative" strong regulatory are in plcae and should include protecting public health and safety, prevent marketing to children and being able to aid law enforcement in identifying those who might be driving under the influence of marijuana.

    According to Block, further details about the proposal will be announced Monday morning by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation.

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