R.I. Is Close To A Vote To OK Medical Marijuana

R.I. Is Close To A Vote To OK Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on June 28, 2005 at 07:25:15 PT
By Sarah Schweitzer & Boston Globe
Source: The Day
Rhode Island is poised to become the 11th state in the nation to permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, with the divisive proposal expected to win final passage today and reach the governor's desk Wednesday.Governor Donald L. Carcieri has said he will probably veto the bill, but supporters say they have the votes needed to override his veto.
The legislation comes at a critical juncture in the battle over the issue. Three weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled that medicinal marijuana users can be prosecuted under federal law even if their home states allow use of the drug. Last week, federal drug agents raided more than 20 medicinal marijuana dispensaries in California and charged two people.In Rhode Island, the legislative fight has been propelled by deeply personal stories. The bill is named for state Senator Rhoda Perry's nephew, who died last year from complications of AIDS and lymphoma and whose doctors had recommended marijuana to ease his nausea. On the House side, the bill's sponsor is Representative Thomas Slater, who has undergone treatment for both lung and prostate cancer.“Would I really take marijuana? I don't know,” said Slater, who is 64 and said three of his six siblings had also battled cancer. “I just want the option out there for people. If they feel it would help them and a doctor feels it would help them, then I want them to have the option to use it without fear of state prosecution.”Slater and other supporters say their legislation is limited enough to prevent abuse of marijuana.The bill would exempt from arrest only patients — along with their doctors, pharmacists, and caregivers — whose doctors certified to the state Department of Health that the patient had pain from a “chronic or debilitating” medical condition, such as cancer or AIDS, that might be eased by marijuana. Such patients would be given state registration cards that would allow them and their caregivers to possess up to 12 plants or 2.5 ounces of “usable marijuana” at any time.The law would apply only to Rhode Island residents. Moreover, users would be required to store the drug indoors; there will be no dispensaries. That, backers say, is a key difference from California that should make it easier to keep track of marijuana users.“There won't even be the opportunity to grow large amounts, because it will have to be grown indoors, not outside,” Perry said. “We're also not San Francisco. We don't have huge numbers of people and dispensaries.”Passage of the law in Rhode Island would leave New England evenly divided over the issue of medicinal marijuana. Vermont and Maine permit its use. Note: Carcieri Plans Veto, But Votes May Be There To Override It.Source: Day, The (CT)Author: Sarah Schweitzer & Boston GlobePublished: June 28, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Day Publishing Co.Contact: editor theday.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill OKs Medical Marijuana Legislation May Be 'Veto Proof'
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 28, 2005 at 20:25:23 PT
Rhode Island House Passes Medical Marijuana
June 28, 2005PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND -- The Rhode Island House today passed medical marijuana bill H.B. 6052, the Edward O. Hawkins/Thomas Slater Medical Marijuana Act, by a 52-10 vote. The bill now awaits a procedural vote in the Senate-which previously passed companion bill S.B. 710 with a 34-2 vote-before it goes to Gov. Donald Carcieri (R).Edward O. Hawkins is the late nephew of Senate lead sponsor Rhoda Perry (D-Providence). Hawkins died of AIDS complications last year and was too fearful of being arrested or kicked out of his nursing home to use medical marijuana to relieve his pain and wasting."I am very proud of my colleagues in the legislature today for passing this act by such an overwhelming margin," said the House bill's sponsor, Rep. Thomas Slater (D-Providence), who suffers from cancer. "I call on Governor Carcieri to sign the Medical Marijuana Bill into law."If H.B. 6052 becomes law, Rhode Island would become the 11th state to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest and imprisonment and the 3rd to do so via the legislative process. Gov. Carcieri has threatened to veto the bill despite overwhelming support from the public and the state's leading medical organizations.H.B. 6052 allows patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, and other serious illnesses to use marijuana under the care of a physician without the fear of arrest or imprisonment. H.B. 6052 and S.B. 710 have been endorsed by the Rhode Island Medical Society, Rhode Island Nurses Association, and AIDS Project Rhode Island. A Zogby International poll released in March 2004 showed that 69% of Rhode Islanders support legislation protecting medical marijuana patients and caregivers; full poll results are available online at:"Governor Carcieri should listen to Rhode Island's medical community and the state's voters and reconsider his threat to veto this sensible, humane bill," said Neal Levine, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "The bill, as amended, addresses almost all of his concerns. He should show some compassion and sign this bill."
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 28, 2005 at 17:12:47 PT
Rhode Island Legislature Passes MMJ Bill 
Rhode Island Legislature Passes Medical Marijuana Bill   Marijuana Policy Project Alert  -- June 28, 2005  
 Great news! In an unmistakable signal to Congress that the states are demanding change, the Rhode Island General Assembly today overwhelmingly approved the Marijuana Policy Project's bill to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest — and sent the bill to the governor to sign.The legislature's action is a strong retort to Congress, which two weeks ago voted down federal protections for medical marijuana patients by 161-264.Gov. Donald Carcieri (R), who now has until July 5 to act on the bill, has threatened to veto it, despite overwhelming support from the public and the state's leading medical organizations ... and despite a House vote of 52-10 and today's Senate vote of 30-0. If the governor vetoes the bill, three-fifths of each chamber would have vote to override the veto in order for the bill to become law.Although more than three-fifths of each chamber have already voted for the legislation, that doesn't guarantee that they would vote to override a veto. Would you please click here to donate $10 or more today so that MPP can ensure victory doesn't slip away?MPP has deployed a massive grassroots mobilization that swamped state legislators' offices with postcards, phone calls, and e-mails from constituents and blanketed the airwaves with hard-hitting TV ads: We spent $5,000 generating phone calls from constituents to the governor, $28,000 on TV ads urging the governor to let the bill become law, and $35,000 on lobbyists. (If the Rhode Island bill becomes law, this will be the least amount of money spent to enact any of the 11 state medical marijuana laws.) We also obtained endorsements for the bill from the Rhode Island Medical Society, Rhode Island Nurses Association, and AIDS Project Rhode Island.Now, with only a few days left, we must keep up the pressure, by generating more constituent calls to the governor and running more TV ads. Would you please help us ensure that Rhode Island becomes the 11th medical marijuana state, by making your most generous financial contribution today?A sweeping victory in Rhode Island just days after the U.S. House refused to protect patients would be a powerful signal to Congress that more and more states will be pushing back harder and harder until Congress feels obligated to change federal law. Please help, by making a financial contribution today.If the bill becomes law, Rhode Island would be only the third state to enact a medical marijuana law via the legislative process. Of the 10 states that have enacted similar laws allowing seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana with their doctors' approval — Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington — all but Hawaii's and Vermont's laws were enacted through ballot initiatives.Victory is close. Would you help push us past the finish line?Sincerely,Rob Kampia, 
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.P.S. While we're poised for victory in Rhode Island, the New York Legislature adjourned for the year on Friday without passing MPP's medical marijuana bill, despite having the support of the top Republican senator and supermajority support in the assembly, and despite a statewide poll showing that a full 76% of New Yorkers support the legislation (including 72% of Republicans). MPP will be back to fight in New York next year.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 28, 2005 at 13:31:44 PT
Off Topic: Drug War Fails to Dent U.S. Supply
Despite $5.4 billion spent since 2000, coca growth in the Andes is high and prices in America low. More money is on the table.By Sonni Efron, Times Staff WriterJune 28, 2005WASHINGTON — The Bush administration and congressional allies are gearing up to renew a plan for drug eradication in Latin America despite some grim news: The $5.4 billion spent on the plan since 2000 has made no dent in the availability of cocaine on American streets and prices are at all-time lows.United Nations figures released this month show that coca cultivation in the Andean region increased by 2% in 2004 as declines in Colombia were swamped by massive increases in Peru and Bolivia. And the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service said last week that the anti-drug effort had had "no effect" on the price or purity of drugs in the United States. 
The findings have fueled skepticism in Congress, where conservative groups have joined efforts to lobby against continued funding. The National Taxpayers Union called the anti-drug program a "boondoggle."Nonetheless, a House committee last week approved the administration's request for $734.5 million for next year as part of a foreign aid bill. Debate on the bill could start as early as today. President Bush also may unveil a renewed multiyear commitment to South American anti-drug efforts this year when Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, a staunch U.S. ally, is expected to visit."We are heading in the right direction and we are winning," the federal drug czar, John P. Walters, told Congress last month. "Plan Colombia" — a six-year effort by Washington and Bogota to eliminate drug trafficking, end more than 40 years of armed conflict with rebels and promote economic and legal reform in Colombia — expires this year. The Bush administration wants to continue it, a senior State Department official said.Snipped:,1,898329.story
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