R.I. Senate Approves Proposal To Legalize MMJ

R.I. Senate Approves Proposal To Legalize MMJ
Posted by CN Staff on June 08, 2005 at 09:07:52 PT
By Katherine Gregg, Journal State House Bureau
Source: Providence Journal
Providence, Rhode Island -- Despite the threat of a veto by the governor -- and a pointed reminder this week from the nation's highest court that federal authorities can still prosecute sick people who smoke pot -- the state Senate yesterday approved a bill to legalize the medical use of marijuana. In sharp contrast to neighboring Connecticut, where deeply divided lawmakers debated the same issue for hours last week, the bill cleared the Rhode Island Senate by a 34-to-2 vote after little debate.
If the House goes along, Rhode Island would become the 11th state to allow people with "debilitating medical conditions" to buy, grow, possess and use relatively small amounts of marijuana to ease their pain. Sen. Leonidas Raptakis, D-Coventry, made a failed effort to remove language limiting the powers of the police to arrest people authorized to smoke marijuana who operate a car, an aircraft or a motorboat. Raptakis' amendment was roundly defeated amid an emotion-charged atmosphere, in which one senator, Rhoda Perry, D-Providence, sought passage of the bill in the name of her nephew, Edward O. Hawkins, who died of AIDS last year at age 41. Perry read the eulogy she wrote for her nephew. It began: "A darling and photogenic boy, his mother knew by age 6 that he would grow up gay." It ended with images from his final days: "hacking cough, erupting fluids . . . morphine-induced dementia . . .face desiccated like a baby bird just out of its shell." After the final vote, Perry turned and hugged Hawkins' mother and her sister, Pamela A. Bailey, who was sitting behind her. Snipped:Complete Article: Providence Journal, The (RI)Author: Katherine Gregg, Journal State House BureauPublished: Wednesday, June 8, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Providence Journal CompanyContact: letters projo.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links Approves Medical Marijuana Bill Confessional Appeal for Medical Pot Committee Passes Medical Marijuana Bill 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 08, 2005 at 16:20:23 PT
Rhode Island Senate Approves Medical Marijuana 
Take Action Now! is pleased to announce that in an historic vote of 34-2, the Rhode Island Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation this week authorizing the medical use of marijuana by qualified patients. This vote came only one day after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government has the jurisdiction to arrest state authorized medical cannabis patients at their discretion for violating the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, this decision in no way overturns state laws protecting medical cannabis patients from state criminal penalties. By their vote this week, Rhode Island Senators not only approved the medical marijuana legislation, they also sent a clear message to Congress that the nation's medical marijuana laws need reforming.NORML would like to thank those of you who took the time to write your Senators in support of SB710. Your words of support clearly had an impact on this outcome. The House of Representatives is now taking up companion bill HB6052, which NORML believes has a good chance of passing.However, in order to override a promised veto by Governor Carcieri, the bill will need to pass with votes from over 2/3 of the state Representatives. In order for this to happen, Representatives will need to hear overwhelming support for the proposal from their constituents. Please take two minutes to send a pre-written letter to your Representatives today by visiting: support NORML's state legislative work, please donate today at: you for your support on this important issue.Sincerely,Paul Armentano, Senior Policy Analyst
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