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Chafee’s office clarifies marijauna plan

December 2, 2011

I had a brief conversation with Chris Hunsinger, Governor Lincoln Chafee’s press secretary, to clarify the Governor’s plans for medical marijuana in Rhode Island following his petition to reclassify the drug as schedule II (medically beneficial).  This is what she said-

The Pulse: Some compassion centers are confused about what would happen if marijuana was a schedule II drug. Would they need to have pharmacists on staff in order to sell medical marijuana? What’s the Governor’s plan for how compassion centers would fit into this new classification?

Chris Hunsinger: So should medical marijuana become a schedule II drug, that would allow states to determine how it was dispensed. Here in Rhode Island, the legislation exists that medical marijuana would be distributed through compassion centers and that’s how he foresees it going forward if medical marijuana becomes a schedule II drug.

The Pulse: Some advocates are worried that Governor Chafee is doing this to side step addressing the immediate issue of compassion centers here in Rhode Island. Is he doing this instead of proposing legislation to the general assembly or is this a two pronged approach?

Chris Hunsinger: It’s one step in the process to allow Rhode Island to distribute medical marijuana to those who are in need. Under the current system, the federal government has sent a letter to the state of Rhode Island, saying if the state were to move forward using the compassion center model, that the federal government would take action. So, this is one step in a process to find a way to allow Rhode Island to dispense marijuana in a way that won’t negatively impact people.

The Pulse: Is he still considering legislation in the general assembly next session to deal with this issue?

Chris Hunsinger: The governor is open to all options that would not jeopardize people here in the state through federal government action.

Does this clarify anything for folks out there?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 2, 2011 6:04 pm

    California & Colorado are open, “Why NOT RI ?!” and they dwarf RI’s numbers ! They got the same memo’s and have been open and running for years now. Seems Arbitrary & Capricious to me (Y/N)

  2. Ellen lenox Smith permalink
    December 2, 2011 10:32 pm

    So am I to interpret this as saying that if it gets reclassified, that patients would ONLY be able to get their medicine at compassion centers and no longer be able to grow?

  3. December 4, 2011 6:05 am

    Ellen- I’m not sure about how that might work. Right now it’s legal for patients to grow, so I don’t see why reclassifying the drug would somehow make that illegal, but I can’t say for sure. I’ll poke around and see if I can figure that out.

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