Governor Refuses Setting up of Marijuana Dispensaries in Rhode Island

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Governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee has scrapped the plan of state-run medical dispensaries of marijuana coming to the state for the fear that it was against the laws laid down by the federal. Chafee had earlier stood in the support of the measure. He said that he had decided that the dispensaries planned by the state would violate the federal laws and would thus become a target of the enforcement efforts of federal laws. In a statement that was issued on Thursday, the governor said, “Federal injunctions, seizures, forfeitures, arrests and prosecutions will only hurt the patients and caregivers that our law was designed to protect.” Earlier i.e. before his reversal Lincoln Chafee was hoping to implement a law of the year 2009 which was passed by the General Assembly of Rhode Island. This law permitted the distribution of marijuana through three state-run centers which were called “compassion centers”. This measure legalized growing and selling of marijuana to patients suffering from severe diseases like cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, etc. Currently the drug is allowed for use in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

One of these 16 states is Montana. In March several state-run marijuana greenhouses and dispensaries were raided by federal agents and this prompted a protest by the legal pot suppliers. U.S. Department of Justice and Rhode Island’s U.S. Attorney, Peter Neronha warned of a similar attack on legal marijuana suppliers in Rhode Island and said these commercial operations will be the main target of a number of criminal and civil enforcement efforts of the federal government. Dropping of the plan of setting up of marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island means that the patients here will have to continue growing their own marijuana or buy the drug illegally from dealers.
Marijuana dispensaries

Many people unanimously said that they would prefer state-run dispensaries because it would be convenient and they be sure about the safety of the marijuana. While talking to Reuters JoAnne Leppanen, executive director of Providence-based Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition said, “We are shocked, outraged and really hurt all at the same time.”  Keith Stroup, legal counsel with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) which is a Washington DC based lobby for marijuana smokers said that he and his group were very disappointed with Lincoln Chaffee’s decision. He said that Chafee is using the fear of violation of federal laws as a justification for refusing the implementation of medical marijuana state-run dispensaries that previously have been allowed by the law.


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