STATE HOUSE – The 19-member special legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island has appointed its members in anticipation of its first meeting in October.
Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) and Sen. Cynthia A Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) sponsored the legislation (2017-H 5551Aaa / 2017-S 277A) that created the commission.
“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,” said Representative Canario. “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.”
“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. 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,” said Senator Coyne.
The purpose of 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; and thereafter the potential impact on Rhode Island of legalized recreational marijuana.
The commission will consist of the following members:
· Representative Canario
· Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence)
· Rep. Antonio Giarrusso (R-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich)
· Senator Coyne
· Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence)
· Sen. Nicholas D. Kettle (R-Dist. 21, Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich)
· Smart Approaches to Marijuana: Nancy DeNuccio, Narragansett
· President of Substance Use Mental Health Council of RI: Susan Storti, PhD
· Proponent for legalization: Michael Beauregard, president of RI Young Democrats
· Executive Director of RI Medical Society or designee: Steve DeToy, director of government and public affairs, designee
· Local chamber of commerce: Laurie White, president of Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce
· Director of Department of Health or designee: Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott
· President of RI Police Chiefs Association or designee: Dean Hoxsie, president
· Attorney General or designee: Peter Kilmartin
· Medical marijuana patient: Julie Lancia, North Providence
· Educator: Carol Formica, Middletown Substance Abuse Coalition
· Mental Health Professional: Mike Cerullo, Exeter
· Criminal defense attorney: John MacDonald, Providence
· President of AFL-CIO or designee: Tim Melia, president of Local 328 United Food & Commercial Workers, designee