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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Rhode Island’s governor nominates three members for the Cannabis Regulatory Council

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Rhode Island’s governor on Wednesday named three individuals to the regulatory committee that will oversee the state’s legal marijuana programs.

Governor Dan McKee, Democrat, announce His appointments are to the Rhode Island Cannabis Control Commission, which will “oversee the regulation, licensing, and control of adult and medical cannabis use in the Ocean State,” his office said in a press release.

“I am proud to appoint these three individuals to the commission to ensure Rhode Island’s cannabis industry is fairly and successfully regulated,” McKee said in the announcement. “These candidates bring diverse and relevant experiences and I look forward to working with them.”

The three candidates under their headlines are Kimberly Ahern, McKee’s pick to serve as chair of the committee and who is currently the governor’s deputy chief of staff.

“I am grateful to Governor McKee for his confidence in me, and I look forward to the Senate confirmation process. If confirmed, I hope to continue the good work that has already begun in Rhode Island thanks to the leadership of the Department of Business Regulation and the Department of Health for many years. The first six months of adult use have proven successful.” Our mandate is to carefully expand into this new industry. I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners to regulate cannabis in a safe, transparent and equitable manner in the years to come,” Ahern said in the announcement.

The other two candidates for governor are Robert Jacquard, currently a self-employed attorney, and Lai Odingbo, a managing attorney for a law firm in Cranston, Rhode Island.

“I am truly honored to be selected to the Rhode Island Cannabis Control Commission and to serve as one of the three voting commissioners,” Oduyingbo said in the announcement. I thank Governor Dan McKee for appointing me, and I am grateful to everyone who supported my candidacy. As a lifelong Rhode Islander and small business owner, I understand the importance of this new and exciting opportunity for success that is now available to businesses in this industry. As Commissioner, I will use my business and legal expertise to efficiently oversee the regulation, licensing, and oversight of hemp and marijuana use in a manner that is prudent, transparent, and fair, and consistent with our state laws.”

The governor will now “send these three names to the Rhode Island State Senate for advice and approval,” according to his office.

Recreational cannabis sales began in Rhode Island in December after McKee signed a measure legalizing pot for adults 21 and older last spring.

“This bill successfully incorporates our priorities of making sure the legalization of cannabis is fair, controlled and safe,” McKee said in a statement at the time. “In addition, it creates a process for the automatic erasure of previous convictions for cannabis. My administration’s original legalization plan also included such a provision, and I am glad the association has recognized the importance of this particular issue. The end result is a win for our state, both socially and economically.”

The adult cannabis market opened for business late last year after McKee announced it had five of them medical cannabis Dispensaries are licensed to sell recreational wares as well.

“This achievement is the result of a carefully executed process to ensure our country’s entry into this emerging market in a safe, controlled and fair manner,” McKee said in the announcement. “It is also a win for our statewide economy and strong locally based cannabis supply chain, which consists of nearly 70 licensed growers, processors, and manufacturers in addition to our licensed compassion centers. Finally, I thank the leadership of the General Assembly for endorsing this practical implementation framework in the Rhode Island Cannabis Code, I look forward to continuing our work together on this issue.”

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