R.I. lawmakers greet proposal for legal marijuana cautiously

Members of the Senate Finance and Senate Judiciary committees held a joint hearing on the 170-page proposal and raised several concerns.

PROVIDENCE — Gov. Gina Raimondo’s legislative effort to legalize recreational marijuana had its first rollout before lawmakers Tuesday, and the reception was, perhaps predictably, wary.

Members of the Senate Finance and Senate Judiciary committees held a joint hearing on the 170-page proposal and raised several concerns.

They said the plan provides far too little money for drug-abuse prevention, especially among youth. The proposal includes about $500,000 for abuse prevention, but with much of it going toward staffing rather than programming.

They questioned the cost of 28 new positions (on top of 5 current employees) for a new cannabis regulatory commission. And they said some of the proposed criminal penalties — like making it a felony to give marijuana to anyone under 21 — were unfairly excessive, no matter how well-intended.

And some

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