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Private vs. State-Run Dispensaries Are Options in Rhode Island
Marijuana Moment reports that lawmakers in Rhode Island kicked off their 2021 session with a plea from Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio.
On the House side, Rep. Karen Alzate told ABC 6 that passing legalization is almost a sure thing this year.
Gov. Gina Raimondo has been pushing for a first-in-the-nation program consisting of state-run marijuana dispensaries. But Ruggerio told WPRI 12 he disagrees with that idea.
Raimondo has been tapped by President-Elect Joe Biden to become the nation’s Commerce Secretary.
Connecticut Governor Pledges to Legalize Marijuana
In neighboring Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont reiterated his pledge to legalize marijuana in his State of the State Address.
If the effort to pass legalization through the state legislature fails to get traction, House Speaker Matt Ritter says he will attempt to put a constitutional question on the state’s 2022 ballot that would leave the matter to voters. The issue polls at over 63 percent support among Connecticut voters.
Virginia Delegate Introduces Marijuana Legalization Bill
Meanwhile, down the coast in Virginia, Democratic Delegate Steve Heretick is introducing a bill to legalize marijuana.
Heretick’s bill would tax recreational marijuana at 9.7 percent and allow localities to add up to 5.3 percent of their own taxes.
Heretick’s bill also allows localities to ban marijuana businesses and maintains penalties for unlicensed sales.
Iowa Lawmakers, Bracketed by Legal States, Discuss Legalization
The legalization of marijuana this election in the state of South Dakota means Iowa is now sandwiched between a legal state to the west and Illinois, a legal state to the east.
That’s Iowa State Sen. Jackie Smith, who represents Sioux City, on the border with South Dakota. She was part of a Zoom roundtable of Iowa lawmakers discussing legalization.
Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker touted the economic benefits.
Black Hawk County Supervisor Chris Schwartz explained how a marijuana arrest destroys economic and educational opportunities.
California Marijuana Workers Should Be Prioritized for COVID Vaccine, Companies Say
A coalition of marijuana businesses is asking California policymakers to specifically include cannabis workers in the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, according to Marijuana Moment.
Marijuana companies have been deemed essential services throughout the pandemic, and the group argues that there are unique risks in the industry because workers frequently interact with patients who might be more vulnerable to the virus because they are immune compromised or elderly.
Like grocery workers and other people eligible for vaccination in Phase 1B, they say those employed in the cannabis sector should be next in line.
Almost all states where cannabis is legal for medical or recreational purposes declared that the industry serves an essential purpose and could continue to operate amid the pandemic.