Medical Marijuana, Duck Hunting Bills Headed for Hearings
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would legalize marijuana, while also considering another bill that would ban duck hunting near a Portsmouth beach.
Two bills with Portsmouth ties are heading for consideration and closer to becoming law.
Lawmakers modify medical marijuana program
Lawmakers will consider a bill next week that, if approved and signed into law, would place more restrictions on the state's pending medical marijuana program.
House Bill 7888, co-sponsored by Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist.70, Portsmouth, Tiverton), would place restrictions on medical marijuana centers or "compassion centers" currently being planned to open.
Earlier this month, legislative leaders announced they had reached a deal with Gov. Lincoln Chafee that would allow the state's first medical marijuana centers to open their doors, including one in Portsmouth.
Last spring, Dr. Seth Bock's proposal for the Greenleaf Compassionate Center in Portsmouth was one of three medical marijuana centers, or compassion centers, in Rhode Island approved for licenses by the Department of Health.
But the process got put on hold by Gov. Chafee in May, after U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha issued a letter saying he did not support the centers.
Neronha has since issued another statement, saying his stance on medical marijuana has not changed since the new deal, which is the new, pending legislation.
The bill is scheduled to be heard Wednesday, March 28, at the State House.
Lawmaker seeks to ban duck hunting near Portsmouth beach
In February, Rep. Raymond E. Gallison, Jr. (Democrat- District 69, Bristol, Portsmouth) introduced new legislation to prohibit duck hunting near the Kings Grant residential development off West Main Road.
The legislation was introduced after several Kings Grant residents complained about duck hunting occurring on a nearby beach and much too close to their homes.
The bill will now be considered at a hearing this Thursday at the State House.
At the same hearing, lawmakers will also consider passage of House Bill 7351, which would allow the town of Portsmouth to establish a tax exemption for historic preservation sites and would exempt all the property of the Prudence Island Historical Society from taxation, provided it is used for nonprofit purposes.