By Paul Armentano On Wednesday, May 19, lawmakers heard testimony on House Bill 7275, which seeks to alter Rhode Island’s medical marijuana law by mandating that the “cultivation and dispensing of medical marijuana shall only be authorized by compassion centers.” If enacted, this mandate would take effect on January 1, 2012.
In addition to prohibiting authorized patients and their caregivers from cultivating medicine, the measure would also bar patients and caregivers from exchanging medicine from one another for no remuneration.
The changes suggested by this bill impose undue hardships on Rhode Island’s patients and their caregivers. Legally forbidding patients from cultivating their own medicine at home leaves patients completely reliant on the state’s three licensed compassion centers, none of which are yet up and running. Further it is unclear that these facilities, even when operational, will be able to sufficiently satisfy the need of the state’s hundreds of authorized patients — or that most patients will even be able to access them conveniently.
HB 7275 is a step backward for Rhode Island’s patient community. Please take a moment today to contact your House member and urge him or her to support HB 7275. If your representative sits on the House Committee on Judiciary, then it is especially important that he or she hears from you. For your convenience, a pre-written letter will be e-mailed to your state representative when you enter your contact information below.
Thank you for supporting NORML’s reform efforts in Rhode Island. Additional information on this measure is available from the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition here.