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Lawmakers meet to hear testimony on medical marijuana bill

January 20, 2020 GMT
This March 12, 2019, photo shows Rhode Island Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello at the Statehouse in Providence, R.I. Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill to undo a change to how medical marijuana dispensaries are regulated, to address a lawsuit by the governor. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
This March 12, 2019, photo shows Rhode Island Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello at the Statehouse in Providence, R.I. Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill to undo a change to how medical marijuana dispensaries are regulated, to address a lawsuit by the governor. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
This March 12, 2019, photo shows Rhode Island Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello at the Statehouse in Providence, R.I. Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill to undo a change to how medical marijuana dispensaries are regulated, to address a lawsuit by the governor. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
This March 12, 2019, photo shows Rhode Island Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello at the Statehouse in Providence, R.I. Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill to undo a change to how medical marijuana dispensaries are regulated, to address a lawsuit by the governor. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
This March 12, 2019, photo shows Rhode Island Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello at the Statehouse in Providence, R.I. Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill to undo a change to how medical marijuana dispensaries are regulated, to address a lawsuit by the governor. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill to undo a change to how medical marijuana dispensaries are regulated, to address a lawsuit by the governor.

The House Judiciary Committee is meeting Tuesday to hear testimony on the legislation.

A provision in the state budget approved last year gave lawmakers the right to veto regulations imposed on the industry. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo sued, arguing the new law violates the state constitution’s separation of powers clause because it gives lawmakers “unchecked control” over executive rulemaking authority.

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Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio filed legislation to repeal the language, but took issue with how the Department of Business Regulation proposed regulations for dispensaries.

The legislation also imposes limits on regulators. Among them, regulators would be barred from limiting dispensaries based on geographical zones and from preventing a facility from growing its own supply of medical marijuana or limiting the number of plants.

Lawmakers authorized six new medical marijuana dispensaries last year, for a total of nine.

Raimondo has also called on lawmakers to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults. Connecticut and Massachusetts both have medical marijuana programs; Massachusetts has also legalized adult recreational use of the drug.