Rhode Island legislators voted overwhelmingly this week to override Gov. Donald Carcieri's (R) veto of a bill that would make the state's medical marijuana law permanent. On Wednesday, the Senate voted 29-4 to override, and on Thursday, the House followed suit with a lopsided 58-11 vote.
Legislators last year passed a medical marijuana -- also vetoed by Carcieri and overridden -- but that law included a sunset provision. Without action by the legislature, it would have expired on June 30.
"The fact that this override passed by an even larger margin than the original override last year says everything you need to know about how well the law has worked, and how completely uncontroversial it's been," said Ray Warren, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project.
The national group worked with state residents organized into the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition to achieve victory in the legislature. "Our legislature has stood with the scientific and medical community to ensure that I and hundreds of other seriously ill Rhode Islanders don't have to live in fear," said Rhonda O'Donnell, RN, a multiple sclerosis patient who was the first to sign up for Rhode Island's program. "But the job won't be finished until every patient in every state who needs medical marijuana has complete protection. It's time for every state legislature and the US Congress to change cruel and unscientific laws that criminalize the sick."