Rhode Island’s department of health will hold public hearings Tuesday, June 29, to review and receive comments on 15 applicants to open the state’s first medical marijuana compassion centers (dispensaries). The dispensaries will operate as nonprofit entities to safely and securely distribute marijuana to qualified patients in the state.
According to recently released figures, Rhode Island has 1,562 medical marijuana patients who are currently required to grow their own medicine or have caregivers grow it for them.
State officials plan to open up to three compassion centers to dispense cannabis to qualified patients and improve their access.
WHAT: Public hearings on applicants to operate compassion centers in Rhode Island
WHEN: Tuesday, June 29, 10 a.m.
WHERE: Department of Health auditorium, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, R.I.
If necessary, a continuation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 30, at the same time and location.
Any applicants who are granted a compassion center license will be required to pay a $2,500 licensing fee.
The health department is expected to announce the first license recipients in about a month. Once applicants are approved, Rhode Island will join New Mexico and Colorado as medical marijuana states that have state-licensed dispensary systems.
Almost exactly a year ago, both houses of the Rhode Island Legislature voted overwhelmingly to override Governor Donald Carcieri’s veto
of the bill that established three state-licensed, nonprofit compassion centers authorized to “acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply, or dispense marijuana… to registered qualifying patients and their registered primary caregivers.”
|Caren Woodson, ASA: “It’s heartening to see states voting on and implementing much-needed distribution systems for patients that can’t grow medical marijuana themselves”
Rhode Island’s House of Representatives voted 65-0 to override the Governor’s veto, and the Senate did so with a vote of 35-3.
“It’s heartening to see states voting on and implementing much-needed distribution systems for patients that can’t grow medical marijuana themselves,” said Caren Woodson, government affairs director with Americans for Safe Access (ASA
), a national group advocating for increased access for medical marijuana patients.
Similar regulated dispensary programs are planned to be implemented soon in Maine, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.
A bill that would create a dispensary system in Vermont passed through three committees this legislative session, but did not receive a floor vote.
Since 1996, 14 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. New medical marijuana legislation was introduced in more than a dozen additional states this year, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Delaware, according to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP