RI’s US Attorney warns Chafee about compassion centers
Rhode Island has now joined the ranks of states that have been warned by the US Department of Justice that medical marijuana dispensaries violate federal law.
Today US Attorney Peter Neronha delivered a letter to Governor Chafee, reiterating the DOJ’s policy on medical marijuana. Although the feds don’t focus their priorities on prosecuting sick people who use the drug, it will go after what it calls “large scale drug trafficking.” It seems the DOJ puts compassion centers in that category.
Jim Martin with the US Attorney’s office wouldn’t answer most of my questions, saying “the letter speaks for itself” but he also wouldn’t give me a copy of the letter. He assures me that the text is very similar to this one sent to the governor of Washington state.
Governor Chafee’s office was able to give me a copy of the letter, but not much of a response-
The letter in question from the U.S. Attorney’s Office was received today, and is under review.
Here’s one of the key paragraphs from the US Attorney’s letter. It calls the establishment of RI’s three compassion centers-
…contrary to federal law, and thus undermines the federal government’s efforts to regulate the possession manufacturing, and trafficking of controlled substance. Accordingly, the Department of Justice could consider civil and criminal legal remedies against those individuals and entities who set up marijuana dispensaries as such actions are in violation of federal law.
The letter says others who knowingly help medical marijuana dispensaries are also violating the law. Possible punishments include civil fines, criminal prosecution, seizure of the marijuana along with the items/property used to grow it.
What is going on and what does this mean for RI’s compassion centers? This Thursday, federal agents raided Washington States medical marijuana dispensaries, three weeks after federal agents issued their letter of warning.
Jim Martin with the US Attorney’s office wouldn’t say whether RI’s compassion centers are in danger of being raided because the letter speaks for itself.