A Growing Remedy
function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('A Growing Remedy');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

A Growing Remedy
Posted by CN Staff on May 12, 2009 at 20:03:09 PT
By Paul Davis, Journal Staff Writer 
Source: Providence Journal
Providence, R.I. -- On a recent morning, Kirk Manter, 54, lifts a 3-foot-tall marijuana plant grown in a house on a quiet street in Woonsocket. He shoves the leafy plant –– packaged in a tall trash bag –– into his Jeep Cherokee and drives it to a man in South County who is battling multiple sclerosis.A wooden cross dangles from his narrow neck. His white T-shirt features a picture of a caduceus — the symbol of the medical profession — against a bright green plant.
Manter, an unemployed construction worker, is one of 581 state-registered caregivers helping sick Rhode Islanders find or grow marijuana.His patients include men and women suffering from chronic pain and debilitating diseases, including cancer, hepatitis C and HIV.The Warwick man is neither a physician nor a pharmacist, but he does have a knack for growing medical marijuana, something he has done since 2006, after a battle with Guillain-Barré syndrome.“I could do little but breathe,” said Manter, recalling the sudden attack on his nervous system. “I did a lot of soul searching.”During his recovery, he learned that Rhode Island had just legalized marijuana for people with chronic pain and terrible illnesses.It was a sign, says Manter, who launched the Rhode Island Compassion Club for medical marijuana users.After talking to lawmakers, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and state police officials, he put up a Web site -- -- with a link to a guide on how to grow marijuana.He bought seeds, bathed his young plants in 1,000-watt light and invited other patients to join him.“When I started it, I envisioned a kind of hospice situation,” Manter says. “I did it to help others.”In 2006, legislators approved the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, which allows patients with debilitating medical conditions to possess up to 12 plants and 2.5 ounces of marijuana.The law also allows an adult without a felony drug conviction to serve as caregiver. Caregivers can help as many as five patients, and possess up to 24 plants and 5 ounces of marijuana.Since the law was passed, the number of patients has jumped sharply, to 681 from less than 140 in 2006. The number of caregivers is up dramatically too.Manter is both.But the laws aren’t always clear or helpful.“It is up to you to decide whether or not to tell your landlord that you are a patient” in the state’s Medical Marijuana Program, or MMP, says a state Health Department Web site.Manter says his landlord is aware of his role as a caregiver. Other Compassion Club members prefer to grow marijuana in private.Many patients and caregivers do the same, says Manter. They grow plants in bedrooms and basements, in rooms papered with foil to evenly distribute the high-intensity lights. Plastic fans move the air. An initial investment can run about $200.In February, Attorney General Eric H. Holder announced that President Obama’s administration would not raid marijuana distribution centers that are allowed by state law. In all, 13 states have legalized medical marijuana.But marijuana use remains illegal under federal law. And Rhode Island doesn’t advise patients how to get marijuana, how to grow it or how to use it.“There are more than 600 patients in Rhode Island, and they have to go into a lot of sleazy places. A lot of them have been beaten and robbed,” says Rep. Thomas C. Slater, D-Providence, the sponsor of a bill that would allow licensed dispensaries, or “compassion centers,” to sell marijuana to patients with a doctor’s note.Members of the House, scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday afternoon, pushed the vote back to May 20 because of a crowded calendar.Manter, who opposes the legalization of marijuana, also opposes Slater’s bill. He contends state centers would produce a pot surplus, create security problems and invite abuse.He prefers smaller, patient-grown collectives, made up of a dozen patients responsible for renting a space to grow and dispense marijuana. “That way the people involved with it are the people who can legally use it,” he says.The model is not unlike Manter’s own Compassion Club, where members swap plants and return excess marijuana.The informal club has no dues, newsletter or regular meetings.“It’s still federally illegal, so keeping records is nothing but trouble,” says Manter. Besides, he says, “most of the people I consider members are not into getting out of bed to go to a meeting.”Manter does keep one official record: a $10 retail sales license from the state Division of Taxation. He renewed it recently “to establish a paper trail and maintain transparency, to show that I’m not hiding.”He says he doesn’t sell marijuana, which the state can tax, or charge for his efforts, “but if someone wants to flip me $100, I don’t mind,” Manter says.While most club members are low-key, Manter has appeared at State House hearings on medical marijuana issues. Tall and thin, with a gray mustache and a gravelly voice, he resembles the character actor Richard Farnsworth, a fixture in Hollywood Westerns.He rarely goes anywhere without his white T-Shirt and cap, which sport his club’s logo: a red cross, a caduceus and a marijuana plant.He keeps a handful of business cards to advertise his club. His title? “Plant Manager.”With reports from Cynthia Needham.Source: Providence Journal, The (RI)Author:   Paul Davis, Journal Staff Writer Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Providence Journal CompanyContact: letters projo.comWebsite: Articles: R.I. Senate Approves Bill for Dispensaries Backs Medical Marijuana Stores
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #8 posted by FoM on May 13, 2009 at 08:59:36 PT
That's very true. We are still way up from this time last year by nearly 30%.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Hope on May 13, 2009 at 08:45:37 PT
"May is a slow time for news". Comment 5
Wouldn't be surprised if this May didn't buck that trend, FoM. Wouldn't be surprised at all what with the way things have been heating up.In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there were no slow months for cannabis news, or Cannabis News, from here on out... until we've reached the end of this long, long row. Maybe a slow few days of news reported, here and there... or even a slow week. But I suspect, no more slow months until serious reform is wrapped up and accomplished.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by afterburner on May 13, 2009 at 08:09:51 PT
Words from "the village" (Ca-na-da)
CN ON: Column: Is U.S. High On Pot Legalization?, Toronto Sun, (12 May 2009) BC: Column: It's High Time To Legalize Pot, The Now, (12 May 2009)
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by FoM on May 13, 2009 at 06:49:14 PT
Just a Note
May is a slow time for news. I'll keep looking. I haven't found anything to post so far. I hope everyone is enjoying this nice Spring weather. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 13, 2009 at 05:57:31 PT
Plant Manager
I smiled at that one too.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Hope on May 13, 2009 at 05:49:35 PT
"Plant Manager."
That's funny. I like that.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 13, 2009 at 05:03:02 PT
You're very welcome. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by SnowedUnder on May 13, 2009 at 05:02:07 PT:
Thank you for making my day
Just wanted to thank you for this posting.
It really made my day.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment