PROVIDENCE — House lawmakers have introduced several bills designed to help minorities and their communities — disproportionately hurt over the years by marijuana prosecution — enter the profitable pot business.
While no approved recreational marijuana market exists in Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo has called on lawmakers this session to legalize recreational pot.
She’s also proposed opening six retail-only medical marijuana dispensaries (the state currently has three dispensaries that all grow the drug, too). The state also has issued licenses to 46 cultivation businesses that grow product for the dispensaries.
One bill (H5795) would establish a “Rhode Island Cannabis Act” establishing a board that would distribute state grants to people in poor communities “most harmed” by marijuana prosecution and who want to enter the business.
The aid would come in the form of fee waivers or discounted operating permits and licenses, technical help in finding business locations, assistance in securing capital investment as well as in recruiting and training workers.
Any grant applicant who had a prior conviction for a marijuana offense that was no longer a criminal offense would be entitled to have their conviction expunged. And anyone formerly imprisoned on a pot charge would have all fees waived. [Read more at Providence Journal]