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July 24, 2017

Rep. Canario Bills on Left Lane Highway Passing and Marijuana Commission Passed out of Committee


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STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario’s (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) legislation on fining drivers for using the far-left lane on three lane highways when not passing another vehicle and establishing a 15-member special legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island were passed out of House Committee on Judiciary last night, according to a press release from Rhode Island’s Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau.

The first bill (2017-H 5398) would fine drivers $85 if they are caught driving in the far-left lane without passing cars in the other lanes.  Representative Canario also plans to contact the Department of Transportation about using highway signs to better educate drivers on common courtesy practices concerning use of the left lane on the state’s highways.

“This bill is about highway safety first and foremost.  When the left lane of the highway is backed up due to drivers using it for non-passing means, it leads to aggressive driving and weaving between lanes with is dangerous for everyone on the road.  Hopefully this legislation will make people remember what we are all taught in driver’s education classes, the left-hand lane is meant for passing,” said Representative Canario.

The second bill (2017-H 5551) that passed out of the Judiciary Committee would create a 15-member special legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island.  The purpose of the commission would be to conduct a comprehensive review and make recommendations regarding marijuana and the effects of its use on the residents of Colorado and Washington to the extent available, and to study the fiscal impact to those states; and thereafter the potential impact on Rhode Island of legalized recreational marijuana.

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“The potential effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island would have drastic impacts to the fabric of our state and this commission is necessary to determine if those effects would come with positive or negative outcomes,” said Representative Canario.  “There is too much at stake from both a financial and a public health standpoint to rush into legalization because Massachusetts has elected to do so.  This commission will take a thoughtful and data-driven approach to determine if legalizing marijuana is the right move for Rhode Island.”

Both pieces of legislation now head to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

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