Almost half the members of the Judiciary Committee are signed on as cosponsors of the bill, H 5274, the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act, Marijuana Policy Project legislative analyst Robert Capecchi told Toke Signals on Tuesday morning. It has 19 total sponsors in the House, including six members of the Judiciary Committee and House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield/Burrillville).
Capecchi, along with bill sponsor, Committee Chair Rep. Edith Ajello (D-Providence), will testify at Wednesday’s hearing.
“This is the third year in a row that similar legislation has gotten a hearing in committee,” Capecchi told us. But, far from just going through the motions, the hearing is an important and can result in real progress, he said.
“This is a great opportunity for us to educate those on the committee who don’t yet support our bill, and also members of the public who aren’t yet sure about taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol,” Capecchi said.
“We encourage all residents of Rhode Island who support marijuana policy reform to reach out to their state senators and representatives with some good, courteous arguments on why they support this policy change,” he told us.
According to Capecchi, there will likely be more focus on the tax and regulate bill this year.
“The precious two times there was also a bill to reduce marijuana penalties,” Capecchi told Toke Signals. “That bill was signed into law last year, so there will be more focus on tax and regulate than there has been in the past.”
WHAT: House Judiciary Committee hearing on H 5274, the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act
WHEN: Wednesday, February 27, Rise of the House (approx. 4:30 p.m. EST)
WHERE: State House, Room 313, 82 Smith St., Providence
WHO: House Judiciary Committee
Rep. Edith Ajello, committee chair and bill sponsor
Robert Capecchi, MPP legislative analyst
Coalition for Marijuana Regulation