A standoff in Rhode Island over the state’s medical marijuana industry came to an end this week, with legislators ultimately acquiescing to the state’s governor.
Identical bills passed Tuesday in the Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives in which the lawmakers agreed to relinquish power they bestowed upon themselves last year to have some say over the state’s medical marijuana regulations.
The power struggle erupted last year after lawmakers unveiled a state budget that included a “legislative veto” when it comes to cannabis and hemp regulations in Rhode Island—a move that came after state Gov. Gina Raimondo sought to impose restrictions that would bar six new dispensaries from growing pot. The three currently open dispensaries are both retail and grow operations.
Leaders in the state General Assembly assailed Raimondo’s proposal as a gross overreach of power.
Their originally proposed budget called for the six new dispensaries to be “subject to approval by the General Assembly prior to enactment,” which prompted Raimondo to sue the legislature.
The lawsuit, filed in October, said that the “legislative veto” provision was unconstitutional and that the legislators violated the separation of powers by giving themselves the right to veto.
Ultimately, the legislators blinked first.