R.I. Finds Little Guidance for MMJ Dispensaries
function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('R.I. Finds Little Guidance for MMJ Dispensaries');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

R.I. Finds Little Guidance for MMJ Dispensaries
Posted by CN Staff on September 26, 2009 at 17:33:57 PT
By Cynthia Needham, Journal State House Bureau 
Source: Providence Journal
Providence, R.I. --  When Rhode Island opens its first medical marijuana dispensary, it will join a select club.Though 12 states have legalized marijuana for qualifying patients, only California and New Mexico have authorized sale of the drug for medical purposes –– a key difference for patients. That leaves Rhode Island officials just two places to turn for guidance.
Since legalization there, California has emerged as something of a troublesome stepchild of the movement. California’s medical marijuana centers are unregulated, which has led to safety problems and prompted federal raids.“It is entirely too messy a situation in my interpretation and I say that as a Californian,” said Bruce Merkin, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that advocates for decriminalizing marijuana.A 2006 law in New Mexico allowed the creation of dispensaries as part of its “medical cannabis program.” But the statute took time to implement and the first of those centers did not open until late July, having decided to use a delivery-only approach to serve the 600 patients in the state’s program.“The only problem is that they ran out of their current supply,” said Julie Roberts, acting director of Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico. State regulations allow for the center to have a maximum of 95 plants, which were quickly used up. The nonprofit group that runs the center is now working to produce more and will begin deliveries again in October.As Rhode Island moves toward the establishment of its first dispensary, Stephen Hogan, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, believes the operator selected to run it would be wise to avoid a delivery service –– though Rhode Island law would allow it.“When you have a delivery service there are a lot of issues that come into play,” he said, noting the frequent robberies of food delivery people.However Rhode Island’s system evolves, other states interested in establishing dispensaries will be watching to see what happens here, and whether it works.“It’s a real responsibility,” Hogan said. “We are trailblazing on this.”In addition to California, New Mexico and Rhode Island, 10 states have legalized medical marijuana: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.Efforts in several of those states to allow dispensaries have stalled in recent years over concerns about the conflict between local statutes and federal drug law, which bans the use of marijuana. But a promise by Attorney General Eric Holder to stop the Bush-administration raids on California clinics appears to have revived the issue in several states.Source: Providence Journal, The (RI)Author:   Cynthia Needham, Journal State House Bureau Published: Sunday, September 27, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Providence Journal CompanyContact: letters projo.comWebsite: Articles:State To Set Rules To Govern Compassion Centers More Questions Than Answers At Meeting
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Post Comment