Rhode Island plans incremental legalization

Rhode Island state lawmakers who want to legalize recreational marijuana before retail pot shops open in Massachusetts are proposing a scaled-back alternative.

Legalization advocates announced the plan after their earlier legislation stalled. They’re calling it “incremental legalization,” because it would legalize adult marijuana possession but wouldn’t yet authorize retail sales.

Specifically, the compromise legislation would: legalize possession of an ounce or less for adults 21 and older on July 1, 2018 when marijuana retail stores are scheduled to open in Massachusetts; and establish a six-person advisory board comprised of two state officials selected by the governor, two state senators, and two state representatives to study outcomes of legalization in other states and issue a report by January 1, 2018 with recommendations for the General Assembly on how to establish a system for taxing and regulating marijuana in Rhode Island.

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