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Medical marijuana patients protest DOH decision today

September 13, 2010

The Rhode  Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC) is planning a protest and press conference at the Department of Health this afternoon at 1pm following Friday’s decision to throw out all of the compassion center applications and start over.

In a press release, JoAnne Leppanen with RIPAC said a compassion center should have been chosen by the end of 2009.

Instead of following its legislative mandate to help patients get safe access to regulated medicine, the Department is finding outrageous excuses to keep compassion centers from becoming the reality that patients need.

When asked about the possibility of a protest on Friday Dr. David Gifford, the director of the Department of Health said,

I can certainly understand why people are frustrated.  We’re frustrated that the process is not moving as fast as we’d like, but I think all of them are able to get their caregivers and get their medication that way.

The Health Department expects to offer a request for proposals for new applications in early October.  Gifford does not expect to select medical marijuana retail stores by the end of this calendar year.

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