Friday, June 19, 2009

All but Three Rhode Island Legislators Vote to Approve Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

This week the Rhode Island legislature overrode Republican Gov. Donald Carcieri's veto of a bill authorizing state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. The vote was an eye-opening 68 to 0 in the House and a slightly less lopsided 35 to 3 in the Senate. Rhode Island already allows patients with doctor's recommendations to use marijuana as a medicine, but until now they've had no legal place to purchase it. Rep. Thomas Slater (D-Providence), a cancer patient who plans to use marijuana for pain relief, told his colleagues, "This gives a safe haven for those who have to go into the seedy areas to try and get marijuana." The new law makes Rhode Island the third state, in addition to California and New Mexico, where dispensaries are permitted; 10 other state allow medical use without providing for distribution.

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