Starting over on RI medical marijuana stores?
More than a month after the state was scheduled to announce who will run Rhode Island’s first so called compassion centers, unnamed sources are telling The Pulse that the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) is scrapping the entire selection process and starting over.
When asked for a comment, DOH said “The compassion center applications and process are still under review,” but someone inside the DOH says the agency plans to announce its decision to restart the process as early as this Thursday.
Supposedly at issue is DOH’s page limit for the medical marijuana applications. The official page limit was 25, not including supplements to the main application. The application lengths range from around 40 pages to more than 200 pages.
Sources guess that applicants who stuck closely to the 25 page limit may have complained that other applicants with hundreds of pages had an advantage. If the state’s wording about that page limit was unclear, DOH might feel more comfortable just starting over.
JoAnne Leppanen with the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC) says if the DOH does start the application process over it will be “absolutely devastating” to the state’s medical marijuana patients.
The deadline has been pushed back and pushed back. The patient community has been patient because they’ve wanted this process to go well. They want the department to do a good job. In the meantime, they are suffering. They have nowhere to get their medicine.
DOH originally planned to choose up to 3 groups to run the medical marijuana stores by the end of July. Fifteen applicants submitted proposals to run the stores. All were deemed complete and passed on to a public meeting and a more rigorous review process.