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Rhode Island Lobbyists Thrive as Marijuana Bills Multiply

Marijuana is a booming business for lobbyists at the Rhode Island State House.

There are at least three legislative battlegrounds this year:

Governor Raimondo’s highly controversial bid to levy new taxes on medical-marijuana plants.

The renewed drive to legalize marijuana to raise tens of millions of new state tax dollars.

The push to expand the limits of the state’s medical-marijuana law to more patients — and now — more dispensaries.

The list of lobbyists with clients on the field has been growing by the day. Perhaps you recognize a few: Wally Gernt. Joe Walsh. Gayle Wolf. George Zainyeh. Bill Fischer. J. Patrick O’Neill. J. Russell Jackson. Nick Hemond.

Quipped Gary Sasse, a top aide to one-time Gov. Donald Carcieri and now deeply involved in Republican presidential politics: “That’s the new growth industry in the state. Marijuana … For the insiders, that’s the new meal ticket.” [Read more at the Providence Journal]

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