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Rhode Island governor says she will pursue legal marijuana in 2020

Governor Gina Raimondo answers questions at Rhode Map Live, a Boston Globe-hosted panel discussion on Nov. 14.Ryan T. Conaty for the Boston Globe

Marijuana Moment is a wire service assembled by Tom Angell, a marijuana legalization activist and journalist covering marijuana reform nationwide. The views expressed by Angell or Marijuana Moment are neither endorsed by the Globe nor do they reflect the Globe’s views on any subject area.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo says she’ll make another attempt to legalize marijuana in the state next year.

In an appearance on WPRI-TV’s Newsmakers program, the governor said she recently discussed the cannabis issue during a lunch with Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, and she left feeling encouraged to pursue the policy change.


Baker “basically said, ‘Look, you’re going to have to do it, so you probably should do it and do it right.’ And I think he’s probably right,” Raimondo said in the interview that aired last weekend. “Connecticut I think is pretty close to doing it, so it’s likely.”

“Last year we made a step forward with more medical [cannabis], and I think the next logical step is adult-use,” she said.

Raimondo’s meeting with Baker and Lamont came just weeks after a separate vaping and cannabis-focused summit featuring the Connecticut governor and the governors from New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, at which those top leaders agreed to a set of principles to shape regional marijuana legalization plans.

Raimondo included a legalization proposal in her 2019 budget submission to the legislature, but it was not adopted by lawmakers.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and other governors from the Northeast have said that they want to approach legalization in a regionally coordinated manner to bolster public safety and prevent people from purchasing cannabis from neighboring states because of differences in tax rates or product availability.

Senate leaders in New Jersey said Monday they were giving up on legalizing through the legislature for the time being, conceding that they don’t have the votes to pass a bill that appeases all stakeholders. Instead, they filed a bill that would place a referendum on legalization before voters in 2020.


Also in the interview, Raimondo discussed a lawsuit she filed against legislative leaders over a statute they passed that effectively gives them veto power over the state’s cannabis regulations.

Read this story on Marijuana Moment.