America’s smallest state should soon be getting some big buds – legal medical marijuana buds. A tentative deal brokered between Rhode Island’s General Assembly and Governor Lincoln Chafee should soon see the opening of three medical marijuana dispensaries to which Gov. Chafee had previously delayed granting licenses since 2011 after the state had originally authorized opening a trio of legal medical cannabis clinics back in 2009.
Gov Chafee suspended the dispensary program in ’11 after receiving a memo from U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha warning that anyone participating could be subject to federal prosecution on large-scale drug production charges. Neronha told the AP that he has yet to review the new compromise between Gov Chafee and lawmakers, one that will restrict the amount of medicinal cannabis a given dispensary can possess, the precise limitations still to be determined by the state Dept of Health.
The General Assembly must approve the deal to make it official, but with both House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed said to be in favor, it seems passage will be a fait accompli.
The three dispensaries to be approved are the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence (the 2006 law that legalized medical marijuana in Rhode Island is co-named for Slater), the Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth and the Summit Medical Compassion Center in Warwick, the latter completely financed by ex-NBA shooting guard Cuttino Mobley. Most importantly, 4,400-plus Ocean State pot patients will be able to access their medicine at dispensaries after three long years.