R.I. Medical-Marijuana Bill's Problems

  R.I. Medical-Marijuana Bill's Problems

Posted by CN Staff on May 18, 2005 at 20:47:37 PT
By Jeremiah S. Jeremiah Jr. 
Source: Providence Journal 

Rhode Island -- The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes continues to be a subject of great debate. This topic has become a salient one for Rhode Island because a state Medical Marijuana Act is under consideration.As chief judge of the Family Court, founder and past president of the New England Association for Drug Court Professionals, and a board member of the National Association for Drug Court Professionals, I am concerned about the lack of clarity in this proposed act.
Although there is still much dissension over the scientific findings on the medical use of marijuana, there is little dispute that stringent regulations are required in this matter.Upon examining the proposed act, I see few safeguards. Qualified patients could have up to 12 marijuana plants, as well as 2 1/2 ounces of usable marijuana, but the bill does not refer to how patients would acquire these marijuana plants. This detail is important, because marijuana continues to be a controlled substance. Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, indicating a high potential for abuse. In the proposed Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Act there are no provisions for physicians to prescribe a Schedule I drug. Such a drug may only be recommended, by written certification, qualified by certain medical conditions.Given that patients cannot obtain marijuana as they do other prescriptions, how will cannabis be obtained, delivered and transported? These are questions yet unanswered that must be addressed by regulation.Assuming that patients could obtain 12 marijuana plants, where would they be grown? Under the current proposal, these plants could be grown in a backyard. This concern is not to imply that patients who grew marijuana would be interested in any illegal activity, yet it points to the need to address concerns of access. Under such conditions, marijuana could easily be stolen or misused in some fashion. Where are the restrictions on the disposal of "unusable marijuana," including "seeds, stalks and roots of the plants"? These parts are deemed "unusable" for medical purposes, yet should not be seen as benign or insignificant. In fact, such parts are often sought for their psychoactive properties and/or use in plant reproduction.Snipped:Complete Article: Providence Journal, The (RI)Author: Jeremiah S. Jeremiah Jr.Published: Thursday, May 19, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Providence Journal CompanyContact: letters projo.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links Bill Goes Up For Debate On Smith Hill Huffs and Puffs Over Marijuana Bill Rally Behind Medical Marijuana

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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 19, 2005 at 15:52:37 PT

NORML Alert: Medical Marijuana Progresses in R.I.
Take Action Now! is pleased to announce that favorable medical cannabis legislation is making progress in Rhode Island, as two medical marijuana bills continue to make their way through the Rhode Island Legislature.The Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill 710, received a hearing in early April in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Many of you took the time to call members of the committee to voice your support for this legislation, and the committee has taken notice. As reported the committee is expected to pass the bill and send it to the Senate Floor by the end of the day. Meanwhile, the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee is currently considering the House version of the bill. With nearly two thirds of the House signed on as co-sponsors, it looks almost certain that House Bill 6052 will pass through the House of Representatives.As these bills continue to move through the legislature, it is vital Rhode Island's elected officials hear an unmistakable message of support from their constituents. If you have not done so already, please take two minutes to send a letter to your State Senator in support of Senate Bill 710 by visiting: you have sent a letter to your Senator, please send another letter to your State Representative in support of House Bill 6052 by visiting: help support NORML's state legislative efforts, please donate today at: you for your support!Regards,Kris Krane, Associate Director NORML
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