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WIRE: Rhode Island prepares for marijuana legalization judicial hearing

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday on a bill that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and replace it with a system in which adults can purchase marijuana from licensed businesses, similarly to alcohol.

Shortly before the hearing, marijuana market researchers, business owners, and entrepreneurs will join Regulate Rhode Island for a news conference to discuss the legislation’s potential to foster new businesses and create thousands of jobs in Rhode Island.

The news conference will take place at 1 p.m. ET in the House Lounge of the Statehouse. The committee hearing is scheduled to take place in Room 101 at the rise of the House.

“This bill would provide a tremendous economic boost for our state, which is one of several reasons why our state legislators should not delay voting on it,” said Regulate Rhode Island Director Jared Moffat. “This proposal would create dozens of new businesses and thousands of new jobs across Rhode Island. Our state’s unemployment rate is still significantly higher than our neighbors’, and this legislation will put many Rhode Islanders back to work.”

H 7752, known as the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act, would make possession of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older, and it would establish a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores.

“Colorado’s legal marijuana market currently employs more than 20,000 people,” said Eric Casey, a regulatory analyst for 4Front Ventures, which researches the marijuana market and monitors marijuana regulatory issues. “Instead of continuing to have an out of control underground market, Rhode Island has the opportunity to create a responsibly regulated, legal market. Workers will be better protected, provided salaries and benefits, and paying into the tax system.”

“A recent analysis estimates that the legal marijuana market could infuse up to $44 billion each year into the U.S. economy by 2020,” said Adam Fine, an attorney for Vincent Sederberg, LLC, which offers legal services and consulting to state-legal marijuana businesses. “Savvy investors know that legal marijuana is the next big thing and are closely watching East Coast states like Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Whichever state moves to end marijuana prohibition first will certainly see a larger share of investment and business growth.”

WHAT: News conference to discuss the potential for H 7752 to foster new businesses and create thousands of new jobs in Rhode Island, followed by the House Judiciary Committee hearing on H 7752

WHEN: Tuesday, April 12, news conference at 1 p.m. ET, committee hearing at rise of the House

WHERE: News conference in the House Lounge of the Rhode Island Statehouse, committee hearing in Room 101

WHO: Spencer Blier, Rhode Island cannabis entrepreneur and investor

Eric Casey, regulatory analyst, 4Front Ventures

Adam Fine, attorney, Vicente Sederberg, LLC

Ross Kaplan, owner and co-founder, Heritage Cannabis Company

Raymond White, chief operating officer, Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center

Jared Moffat, director, Regulate Rhode Island

 

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Regulate Rhode Island is a coalition of citizens and organizations committed to ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. Member organizations include the Rhode Island NAACP, Rhode Island ACLU, Rhode Island Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Rhode Island Sierra Club, Rhode Island Republican Liberty Caucus, Rhode Island Young Democrats, Clergy for a New Drug Policy, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and the Marijuana Policy Project, among others.

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