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Rhode Island Docs Tell Governor to Okay Marijuana Dispensaries

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #698)
Drug War Issues

Dispensaries to serve medical marijuana patients in Rhode Island have been on hold since the spring, when, citing pressure from the federal government, Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I), blocked them from moving forward. Now, the Rhode Island Medical Society has sent him a letter saying the time for delay is over.

Citing fear of the feds, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee continues to block dispenary licensing. (image via Wikimedia)
A regulated system of dispensaries is crucial in providing "a source mechanism for patients to obtain their marijuana in a safe and legal manner," said society president Dr. Gary Bubly in the letter sent to Chafee and state Health Department Director Michael Fine.

"It requires appropriate security and oversight allowing patients to obtain their marijuana in a controlled environment," he wrote. "Further delay in implementing this law only serves to deny relief to patients suffering from the qualifying medical conditions."

After two years of reviews and public hearings, the state announced in March that it had selected three dispensaries to grow and sell medical marijuana to Rhode Island's nearly 4,000 registered patients. But the next month, US Attorney Peter Neronha sent Chafee a letter warning that people involved in large-scale drug production operations could face civil and criminal prosecution, prompting Chafee to block the issuing of licenses pending clarification from Neronha and the US Department of Justice.

Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger told the Providence Journal Monday that the governor has received a copy of the society's letter, but had yet to review it. She said the governor's office continues to review what other states are doing regarding dispensary licensing and that his decision to place a hold on licensing in Rhode Island remains in effect.

Other states in the Northeast, including Delaware, Maine, and Vermont ignored the federal threats and have moved ahead with licensing dispensaries. Last month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) ended that state's hold on dispensaries in the face of the threats, saying he though the risk was low when "reading between the lines" in the letters, and worth taking.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


"Last month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) ended that state's hold on dispensaries in the face of the threats, saying that providing licenses to the dispensaries was a risk worth taking ........ghjkfgjfjhd."

When politicians find it more lucrative to support the marijuana movement then the federal government's fear mongering it's a very good sign we are winning and the end is near! This means they are realizing not only that we won't re-elect them if they don't support what we want but that there are now enough of us to ensure they don't get elected!

Tue, 08/23/2011 - 5:47pm Permalink
Spoiled Sport (not verified)

Don't you hate it when politicians don't base their decisions on what is right or wrong but instead on what will further their careers, on personal agendas, or whoever is the highest bidder.

Wed, 08/24/2011 - 12:39pm Permalink


 Santa Cruz, CA: Patients in California with a physician's recommendation are predominantly using cannabis to treat symptoms of pain, insomnia, and anxiety, according to population data published in the present issue of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz analyzed data from 1,746 consecutive admissions to nine medical marijuana assessment clinics operating throughout California. 


Wed, 08/24/2011 - 2:44pm Permalink

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