Rhode Island lawmakers passed a bill on Tuesday that would establish facilities where people could test and use illegal drugs under medical supervision. Separately, a House panel weighed a measure that would legalize marijuana for adults in the state.
The first piece of legislation, which would launch a pilot program for safe-consumption sites, passed the full House of Representatives in a floor vote. The chamber later signed off on an amended Senate companion bill approved by that body in March. The two measures now go back to the Senate floor for consideration, according to a press release.
During a panel hearing after the floor session, the House Committee on Finance also heard testimony on one of three proposals introduced this session that would legalize cannabis for adult use. Legislative leaders and the governor’s office have indicated they’d like to reconcile the differences between those measures and potentially return to vote on a compromise bill later this year.
Rep. Scott Slater (D), who introduced the House marijuana legalization bill last month, said he purposefully filed the measure late in the session, which is expected to wrap up its business this week. It allowed him to incorporate feedback on a separate Senate legalization bill as well as one introduced by Gov. Dan McKee (D), he said.
“I tried to take everyone’s input and compromise the best piece of legislation that I could see for legal adult-use, recreational cannabis,” Slater said at the hearing.
The main goal of his bill is to create a system that’s “modest and allows for expansion and changes over time,” Slater said, explaining that a slow start to the launch of the commercial market would help avoid oversaturation of the market.
The Senate already passed a separate cannabis legalization measure, on a 29–9 vote last week. “It is