Northeastern states are considering new marijuana proposals after Massachusetts and Maine legalized cannabis for recreational use in the recent voting cycle. Massachusetts is set to have a very large marijuana market and is influencing Rhode Island, Delaware and even New Jersey to consider new legislation on marijuana use. The benefits of a Rhode Island recreational marijuana legalization bill could be upwards to $15 million in tax revenue, along with being an early player in the marijuana market. Surrounding states of Massachusetts are going to see underground sales of marijuana, placing a burden on regulators of the states. Rhode Island recreational marijuana legalization will be a very important subject when legislators return in early January.
Rhode Island could see $10 million to $15 million in revenue in its first year if the state legalizes marijuana, Gov. Gina Raimondo said in an interview with The Providence Journal about the upcoming General Assembly session.
Her comments marked the first time the state has publicly talked about its own revenue estimates for a legalized marijuana market. But Raimondo cautioned those numbers do not reflect significant additional money the state would have to spend on regulators, additional public safety and prevention programs.
“It hasn’t been a priority of mine. But … now that Massachusetts has gone first I think we do need to take some time early in the year to figure out what we should do,” Raimondo said.