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Rhode Island governor sues over control of marijuana rules

October 22, 2019 GMT
In this Jan. 16, 2018, photo, Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo delivers her State of the State address at the Statehouse in Providence. Raimondo is asking a judge to declare the Legislature's control over new marijuana and hemp regulations unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
In this Jan. 16, 2018, photo, Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo delivers her State of the State address at the Statehouse in Providence. Raimondo is asking a judge to declare the Legislature's control over new marijuana and hemp regulations unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s governor is asking a judge to declare the legislature’s control over new marijuana and hemp regulations unconstitutional.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said Tuesday she’s suing in Superior Court because the Democratic-controlled legislature, in provisions of the state budget, violated the constitutional guarantee of separation of powers by giving itself the right to veto, and thereby control, executive regulations.

Spokesmen for the House and Senate say the lawsuit is an unnecessary use of taxpayers’ dollars and judicial resources. They say legislative leaders already indicated the provision in the law will be removed.

The budget adds six medical marijuana dispensaries, for a total of nine.

The Department of Business Regulation is considering proposing a lottery system to allow “all serious, qualified businesses” to take part in Rhode Island’s medical marijuana market.