Advocates call for lifting hold on compassion centers

Providence, RI – By MEGAN HALL
Patients and advocates headed to the state house today, urging Governor Lincoln Chafee to lift his hold on licensing Rhode Island's medical marijuana dispensaries.

Joanne Leppanen, the executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, says patients have waited far too long for a legal place to buy their medicine.

"Everyone is tired, everyone is sick," she says. "The stress this is creating upon the patient community is unbearable. Every time we get near the finish line, the finish line moves."

Chafee halted the compassion centers program following a warning from U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha that the centers violate federal law.

The governor's spokesman Mike Trainor says he understands patients are anxious to use the compassion centers, but the state would be putting the dispensaries at great risk if it moved forward with licensing them.

The governor hopes to start a national conversation with other medical marijuana states about what to do.

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