Rhode Island: Governor Signs Legislation Authorizing State-Licensed Medical Marijuana ‘Compassion Centers’

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 24, 2012

    Governor Lincoln Chafee signed legislation into law this week authorizing the creation of state-licensed ‘compassion centers’ to engage in the production and distribution of cannabis for authorized patients. It is the second time since 2009 that state lawmakers have approved legislation allowing for the state regulation of medical marijuana facilities.

    Under the new law, Senate Bill 2555, health regulators will license three not-for-profit entities, known as ‘compassion centers,’ to operate within the state. Compassion centers will not be allowed to cultivate more than 150 cannabis plants on the premises at any one time, only 99 of which may be mature. Centers will also be restricted to possessing no more than 1,500 ounces of usable product at any one time.

    Lawmakers have suggested that the imposed statutory limits will lower the likelihood of federal law enforcement officials interfering with the implementation of the law. At least one other state, New Mexico, imposes similar caps on authorized dispensaries.

    State lawmakers initially enacted legislation allowing for the authorization of ‘compassion centers’ in 2009. However, Gov. Chafee suspended the law in 2011, stating, “[L]arge-scale commercial operations such as Rhode Island’s compassion centers (would) be potential targets of ‘vigorous’ criminal and civil enforcement efforts by the federal government.” Earlier this year, Gov. Chafee agreed to revisit the issue and to work with lawmakers to amend the law so that a limited number of small-scale distribution centers could apply for state licenses.

    In response to the legislature’s actions, US Attorney Peter Neronha has said he will continue to oversee the enforcement federal drug laws. However, he has not specifically said whether ‘compassion centers’ will be targeted.

    Three states – Colorado, Maine, and New Mexico – presently issue licenses to allow for the state-sanctioned production and distribution of cannabis. So far, dispensary facilities in those states have operated largely without federal interference.

    Similar licensing legislation approved in recent years in Arizona, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington, DC has yet to be implemented by local lawmakers.

    In February, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced that he was suspending the implementation of a similar licensing program in that state.

    Rhode Island lawmakers legalized the limited use and cultivation of cannabis for therapeutic purposes in 2006. Over 3,000 Rhode Islanders are presently authorized under state law to use cannabis.

    46 Responses to “Rhode Island: Governor Signs Legislation Authorizing State-Licensed Medical Marijuana ‘Compassion Centers’”

    1. Kirk Perry says:

      Well done! The public has all the facts they need to know to make a rational decision.

      Key statement from Colorado’s Pot Czar, Ex-Narc, turned positive thinking believer, when asked by Steve what the impact-outcome of Marijuana was on the State of Colorado?

      “Nothing!, replied the Ex-Narc.


      Thanx Steve Kroft and 60 Minutes.

    2. Kirk Perry says:

      Sunday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. PT

      Correspondent Steve Kroft starts us off Sunday with an eye-opening report on the status of medical marijuana in the U.S. He goes to Colorado’s “green rush” to see some of the state’s 537 medical marijuana dispensaries. Colorado is one of 17 states where it’s legal to grow and sell medical pot. But there’s one hitch: it’s still illegal in the eyes of the federal government.
      Finally, a voice! :)

    3. Kirk Perry says:

      The hemp act is sending the DEA into a mad scramble this morning. It’s been 75 yrs. since the federal government made the (5) leaf plant an evil symbol.
      Hemp looks too much like marijuana, and the DEA does not want the serrated (5) leaf plant to become commonplace, much less an energy savior for the USA. That’s a big plate of CROW to swaller’.

      DEA jobs are on the line in November 2011. If even one (1) state like Colorado legalizes marijuana, other states will follow and the DEA is sweating over it. Big time.

      If you have a moment to send A.G. Eric Holder a message, we would all benefit from your effort in the future.
      Not since the Vietnam War has their been so much muted public upheaval about a social lie.
      Imagine, (9) retired DEA executives attempting to persuade Eric Holder to “cancel out” pro-voters ballot decision by federal decree.

      Help win the 37 year battle today, if you haven’t already, on this secure petition site:


    4. Kirk Perry says:

      ~ H.R. 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act ~ At House Energy & Commerce

      9-24-12 Thank you for taking the time to contact me about H.R. 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act.

      As you know, HEMP is a variation of cannabis sativa with low-grade tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) strains. Today, hemp is used for industrial purposes such as paper, clothing and bio-fuel. Earlier this Congress, Representative RON PAUL (Texas-R) introduced H.R. 1831, the INDUSTRIAL HEMP FARMING ACT.
      This piece of legislation AMENDS the (75 yr. old) CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE ACT to EXCLUDE industrial hemp from the DEFINITION of “MARIJUANA”.

      H.R. 1831 also defines “industrial hemp” as any part of the Cannabis plant that meets the THC concentration limit of NO MORE than 0.3 PERCENT.
      If a person grows or processes it for purposes of making industrial hemp THIS WOULD BE in accordance with state law.

      H.R. 1831 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

      Please rest assured, should this or similar legislation comes to the House floor for a vote, I will keep your thoughts in mind. Thank you for contacting me. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me or my office at (202) 225-0508. – Congressman Brian Bilbray (R), 50th district, California

      Please Americans!(and the world at the same time)..Hemp for Fuel/Clothing..Corn for Cattle.

    5. Kirk Perry says:

      Please consider being a permanent status “Mail-In Ballot” voter.
      We’ve been mail-in’s for 27 years, and have never gotten in our car and burned gasoline to motor over to a voting station and stand in line and wait to vote.
      Many people do not become mail-in-voter’s because they feel they’re not worthy.
      You are. It’s your right and today, it’s a green thing to do.
      Vote in your pajamas – and this year cast your vote for whichever candidate has the courage to support medical cannabis, no matter which party they represent.
      If we don’t gain ground in November and be recognized as a united group, the next four years are going to be the same misery of periodic DEA deck-shuffling, cannabis supply delays, angst, stress, or worse.


    6. Kirk Perry says:

      The DEA estimates that 1,000 to 1,500 people use medical marijuana in San Diego County.

      Actually we believe the number of prescribed patients to be thousands higher.

      San Diego needs to create a Medical Marijuana Rally in a stadium. The attendance would rival that of a yearly Jehovah’s Witness gathering.

      The voting public needs to be aware of the support our organization has. We are a voting block. If NORML has a rally in San Diego, it will let the public know who we are and that we’re prepared to fight for our state voted right to smoke weed and have tested meds available 365 days of the year.
      And, we will keep fighting for our rights and vote or not vote at all accordingly as a “group”, so our support will have an impact.

      Other states should plan events as well. The more press we get, the more support we’ll garner.

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