Assembly, In Veto-Proof Votes, OKs Dispensaries
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Assembly, In Veto-Proof Votes, OKs Dispensaries
Posted by CN Staff on June 10, 2009 at 05:33:39 PT
By Cynthia Needham, Journal State House Bureau 
Source: Providence Journal
Providence, R.I. -- Nearly a decade after patient advocates first pressed for full-scale legalization of marijuana for medical use, Rhode Island on Tuesday became only the second state to establish state-licensed dispensaries to sell the drug to the critically ill.Senate lawmakers gave final approval to the House and Senate versions of the legislation, sending it to the governor’s desk with enough votes to override a veto, if necessary.
Governor Carcieri, a longtime critic of medical marijuana, confirmed in a brief interview Tuesday that he will “do the same thing I’ve done with it in the past.” A year ago he vetoed a compromise plan to study the concept, saying it would “move Rhode Island further down the path of weakening the laws governing — and public perception of — illicit drugs.”But Senate lawmakers approved the legislation in an easy 31-2 vote Tuesday, days after the House approved the same plans in a 63-5 vote. Both tallies are well beyond the three-fifths majority needed to override a veto.Senate sponsor Rhoda Perry, D-Providence, predicts that if required, the Assembly will override a gubernatorial veto before the session ends later this month.“That’s one of the reasons that we [passed] it as fast as we did it,” Perry said. “We still have a few weeks left here … I just can’t imagine the leadership wouldn’t have the will to override a veto.”In 2006, lawmakers permanently legalized medical marijuana after a pilot program. Yet the bill contained what some called a loophole: though it was legal for the 600 patients enrolled in the marijuana program, the state provided no means for them to obtain the drug, forcing most to grow it or to buy it on the street.“The principal problem that our patients had was their fear of dealing with the illegal market, and in some cases there were some reports of rough people they had to deal with and they were very frightened,” Perry said.State-licensed dispensaries, or “compassion centers,” as supporters dubbed them, offer a safe and regulated alternative. The Rhode Island legislation calls for licensing as many as three dispensaries in the coming years and run by individuals or nonprofit organizations that apply.In impassioned testimony this spring, frail patients squinted in pain as they told lawmakers of being beaten up or robbed as they tried to purchase marijuana from street-level drug dealers. Being sick is hard enough, they said, and not knowing where the next dose of medicine might come from is worse.One by one in recent years, skeptical lawmakers came to support the idea of state authorized dispensaries.“Our intent was never to send people out to deal with drug dealers,” Rep. Joseph McNamara, D-Warwick, chairman of the House Health Education and Welfare committee and a one-time critic turned advocate, has said.The new administration in Washington also helped. A year ago, Rhode Island lawmakers expressed concern about a spate of federal raids on dispensaries in California, where centers are not state-regulated. This winter, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signaled that the Obama administration will no longer tolerate such raids.Rep. Thomas C. Slater, the Providence Democrat for whom the bill is named in part, had few words Tuesday as he watched passage of the law he’s worked on for nearly decade, even as he has battled against his own advanced cancer.“Just relieved,” he said. “Relieved for people in pain.”With reports from Steve Peoples, Journal State House BureauSource: Providence Journal, The (RI)Author:   Cynthia Needham, Journal State House Bureau Published: Wednesday, June 10, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Providence Journal CompanyContact: letters projo.comWebsite: Articles:RI Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill Growing Remedy
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on June 12, 2009 at 15:54:02 PT
I was watching a news program ( Chris Matthew's Hard Ball) and a respected Republican came on and talked about why Republicans are in a mess of a situation. He said that they have been a Party of older white men. He said they have neglected minority votes. He said if they didn't start reaching out to other people they will be in this position for many years. They really do need to listen to those who they haven't included.
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Comment #18 posted by Hope on June 12, 2009 at 15:21:25 PT
Carcieri's last term.
Good. Hope he doesn't have plans for any more elected office. He's probably lost at least 54% of any vote he'd ever have gotten.He has allies, certainly, or they would have made the passage veto proof. For the people there that it could have helped, it's a rotten shame that he's slammed the door right in their hopeful faces.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on June 12, 2009 at 14:30:42 PT
I looked and he is in his second term. Maybe they will get a good and open to new ideas type Governor the next time.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on June 12, 2009 at 14:28:00 PT
Hopefully he will be voted out. I don't know if he is already in his second term though. I think they will overide the veto. You'd think he would have learned but some people just aren't open to learning just telling.
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on June 12, 2009 at 14:16:45 PT
Comment 14
I expect that's the end of any future political career Carcieri might have had.Most deservedly so, too.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on June 12, 2009 at 12:51:28 PT
Carcieri Vetoes Marijuana Dispensary Bill
June 12, 2009
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on June 11, 2009 at 10:12:53 PT
London police cannabis- waterboarding and torture
Yes, Observer. I saw that, too.It made me think of that poor man here a few years ago that police were shocking him with battery cables connected to his testicles and holding his head under water in a commode about 'drug war information' and his wife had left a recorder in the house going when they made her leave.It's a wicked, wicked world we live in. Yeah... they're the "Good guys". Right. I haven't been able to believe that in a very long time.
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Comment #12 posted by NikoKun on June 10, 2009 at 20:37:01 PT
what are vetos for again?
Frankly, when Governors threaten with such vetos, especially when support is so high, they are WASTING not only the Senate's time, but the people's time as well.
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Comment #11 posted by observer on June 10, 2009 at 15:21:28 PT
Smidgen of Freedom Back for Another (Ex-)Colony? 
Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Delaware, too? That's four of the original thirteen colonies that will have recent medical marijuana provisions. Amazing how much freedom the people there have traded away compared to the freedoms they once had (on paper at least) when the nation was founded. But we'll take what little scraps back that we can get. Anyone following the London police cannabis- waterboarding and torture scandal breaking now? Tortured over cannabis. Of course, the "Tucker Telephone" -type tortures have been in place in the good ol' U.S.A. for generations now. London must be the Land of the "free", now, too? 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on June 10, 2009 at 14:30:19 PT
OT: About What Happened Today in Washington
Of all the things that have scared me over the years while doing CNews is the hate I have seen. I have seen the extreme radicals saying and doing whatever they want. I will never understand how people can be so angry and have so much hate but today just shows me there is a group of people that live that way. I'm sorry for the security guard that lost his life. That's all.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on June 10, 2009 at 13:05:22 PT
Anderson Cooper 360: America's High
Next Week: ‘America’s High’ Can the U.S. afford to make pot legal? Can we afford not to? We’re keeping them honest on both sides of the argument. All next week, 10 ETJoin: Live Blog: Weeknights 10p ET
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Comment #8 posted by George Servantes on June 10, 2009 at 11:09:45 PT
I hope Maine joins next this Nov. 2009
We need medical marijuana dispensaries too.Medical marijuana for all! ;-)
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Comment #7 posted by RevRayGreen on June 10, 2009 at 09:05:56 PT
will go thru with no oppisition. They will go full on dispensery when it passes. Hopefully a fed policy is in place by the time there are 20 states.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on June 10, 2009 at 08:59:58 PT
Tiny Rhode Island!
Making noise! Saying it right!
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on June 10, 2009 at 08:58:47 PT
Didn't notice that 63 to 5 before. That's a good one, too!
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on June 10, 2009 at 08:57:52 PT
31 to 2
I like 'em like that!This is marvelous news.
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on June 10, 2009 at 08:40:36 PT
passed 31-2
If the Governor doesn't get out of the way then run him over.
He's political history.
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on June 10, 2009 at 08:28:05 PT
Here we come ... 
nothing and nobody can stop us!On a mission from God!
On a mission from God!
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Comment #1 posted by rchandar on June 10, 2009 at 06:42:55 PT:
Rhode Island
Christ Almighty!
Ganesha Jai Jai!And the South is BULL-SHEE#$%$IT!!!rchandar
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