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Lawmakers set votes next week on legalizing marijuana in Rhode Island

After months of behind-the-scenes negotiation, legislation to legalize adult use of marijuana is headed for votes in legislative committees next Wednesday

Legislative draftsmen are still putting the final touches on the reworked legislation, which will not be made public until sometime next week ahead of the anticipated voting on Wednesday.

The last seen version would allow up to 33 retail licenses to be distributed in six zones statewide, including at nine medical marijuana dispensaries that could be hybrid recreational and medical retailers.

For years now, who has control over the lucrative new industry has never been far from the minds of lawmakers, the operators and suppliers of the existing medical marijuana dispensaries and those who hope to jump into a newly expanded industry.

Among the questions: How the legislators resolved their conflict with Gov. Dan McKee over the composition of the commission that will parcel out the lucrative licenses in this potentially booming new industry in Rhode Island.

While the governor supports legalization, his administration has voiced “significant constitutional concerns” about how members of a proposed three-member cannabis control commission are to be appointed — and removed if necessary. [Read more at The Providence Journal]

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