Drug Law

Rhode Island Protects Doctor Confidentiality on Medical Marijuana

| by Marijuana Policy Project

Last week the Rhode Island state legislature approved a critical piece of legislation designed to protect the confidentiality of physicians who recommend medical marijuana to patients.

The bill was introduced after the names of 335 physicians had been leaked to the Providence Journal by a department of health staffer, and several doctors whose identities were disclosed testified that they were no longer comfortable recommending medical marijuana to patients, even when it might be the best course of treatment.

Passage of the bill – which is set to become law – marks the fourth time that Rhode Island has passed positive medical marijuana legislation. In fact, tomorrow, the state will take another critical step in expanding its medical marijuana law further when it holds a public hearing for applicants to open the state’s first nonprofit compassion centers, which will provide qualified patients with safe access to their medicine.

Rhode Island has approved opening up to three such centers, and the first licenses are expected to be issued in about a month.