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Compassion center applicant suing DOH

June 9, 2011

Hope Apothecary is not happy with the Rhode Island Department of Health.  It wasn’t selected as one of the three compassion centers to sell medical marijuana in the state, even though it received the third highest score in the selection process. The reason why? DOH says it also considered geography when it selected the compassion centers.  All three of the top applicants wanted to locate in Warwick.

But Hope Apothecary says that isn’t fair, so it’s suing the DOH. In the lawsuit, Hope Apothecary says-

In rewarding the three registration certificates, however, the Department of Health disregarded its own scoring system, including Question 12 which weighed convenience to patients from throughout the state as a factor of 10% (10 points out of 100), and decided instead to emphasize the convenience to patients within a particular, limited, geographic locale.

Hope Apothecary argues that Warwick is the most convenient location for a medical marijuana dispensary because it’s at the intersection of two major highways and-

“There are more medical marijuana patients in Kent County [where Warwick is] than in Bristol and Newport Counties combined [where one of the winning, lower scoring compassion centers is located.”

The Department of Health isn’t saying much about the lawsuit, except that it’s aware of  the complaint and “the Department is in the process of responding to that.”

The whole issue is a bit moot right now since Governor Chafee put a hold on the compassion center process.  It might not be worth a lawsuit to fight over the privilege of waiting to open a medical marijuana dispensary. Then again, maybe it’s the right time if Hope Apothecary can catch up with the other compassion centers.

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