Patient Advocates Call for Governor to License Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

PROVIDENCE — Patients and advocates in the state’s medical-marijuana program rallied at the State House Tuesday to voice their frustration and disappointment in Governor Chafee for failing to issue licenses to three marijuana dispensaries that are permitted under Rhode Island law.

Speaker after speaker stepped up to the lectern outside the chambers of the General Assembly and reminded the small crowd of about 30 supporters that the governor has been dragging his feet for 149 days. That was when the Health Department announced that it had selected three businesses to sell marijuana to patients registered in the state program.

The dispensaries are: the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence, Summit Medical Compassion Center in Warwick and Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth.

They hoisted signs that read, “Hey Chafee Which State Law Will You Ignore Today,” and “69% of Rhode Islanders Support Compassion Ctrs; 36 % Support Chafee. Wake Up Governor.”

Read the entire article by Zachary Malinowski in the Providence Journal.

Marijuana possession can be a serious crime in Rhode Island, and without medicinal marijuana dispensaries, many of these patients may find themselves subject to jail time, heavy fines, loss of their driver’s license, mandatory drug education programs, and community service.

Although the penalties for a marijuana possession conviction can be stiff, dismissal of charges and/or an agreed upon reduced sentence can be negotiated by an experienced criminal defense attorney early on. There may be occasions, however, where the best tactic for a drug crime defendant is to compel the prosecution to prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt at trial before a jury. If you have been charged with a state or federal drug crime, you need a criminal defense attorney with courtroom experience.