Rhode Island appoints 19-member panel to begin study on marijuana legalization

Rhode Island appoints 19-member panel to begin study on marijuana legalization


PROVIDENCE — The state has announced the appointment of 19 members to the special legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island.

The commission, sponsored through legislation submitted by state Rep. Dennis M. Canario and state Sen. Cynthia A Coyne, aims to study the impact of legalizing recreational use of marijuana in Rhode Island.

“The potential effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island would have drastic impacts to the fabric of our state and this commission is necessary to determine if those effects would come with positive or negative outcomes,” Canario said. “There is too much at stake from both a financial and a public health standpoint to rush into legalization because Massachusetts has elected to do so. This commission will take a thoughtful and data-driven approach to determine if legalizing marijuana is the right move for Rhode Island.”

The commission would be to conduct a comprehensive review and make recommendations regarding marijuana and the effects of its use on the residents of Colorado and Washington to the extent available, and to study the fiscal impact to those states.

“Based on my experience as a retired State Police lieutenant and a mom of four children, I understand that legalization of marijuana for recreational use could have serious public safety, public health and societal ramifications,” Coyne said. “It is imperative that we thoughtfully consider the unintended consequences and take notice from lessons learned in Colorado and Washington.”

“We should take full advantage of other states’ experiences and learn about whether we should follow in their footsteps or perhaps take a different approach to avoid any problems they may have encountered,” she said.

— Sun staff

Study commission on marijuana legalization

The commission will consist of the following members:

Rep. Dennis M. Canario, D-Portsmouth.

Rep. Arthur J. Corvese, D-North Providence.

Rep. Antonio Giarrusso, R-East Greenwich.

Sen. Cynthia A Coyne, D-Barrington.

Sens. Joshua Miller, D-Cranston.

Sen. Nicholas D. Kettle, R-Coventry.

Nancy DeNuccio, Smart Approaches to Marijuana,

Dr. Susan Storti, president, Substance Use Mental Health Council of RI

Michael Beauregard, president of RI Young Democrats.

Steve DeToy, director of government and public affairs, R.I. Medical Society.

Laurie White, president of Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director, state Department of Health.

Dean Hoxsie, president, R.I. Police Chiefs Association.

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.

Julie Lancia, North Providence, medical marijuana patient.

Carol Formica, Middletown Substance Abuse Coalition.

Mike Cerullo, of Exeter, mental health professional.

John MacDonald, of Providence, criminal defense attorney.

Tim Melia, president, Local 328 United Food & Commercial Workers.

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