A bill that would eliminate caregivers from the state’s medical marijuana program continues to stir up controversy. But a lobbyist behind the bill says his client simply wants more regulation of the medical marijuana industry.
So-called caregivers are allowed to grow a small number of medical marijuana plants for a few patients. They’ve launched a campaign to discredit a bill that would replace caregivers with two growing and distribution centers. Lobbyist Peter Petrarca denies claims the bill would only benefit his client, Rhode Island Growers and Distributors LLC.
State Police are raising concerns about the state’s medical marijuana program. At issue is the role of caregivers, who are licensed by the state to grow a small number of plants for medical marijuana patients.
Rhode Island State Police spokesman Major Kevin O’Brien says last year police searched the homes of 21 caregivers. More than three-quarters of them were growing more marijuana than the law allows.
In the past few weeks, two medical marijuana patients in Rhode Island have faced legal problems arising from their use of the substance. The cases hinge on a conflict between federal and state laws. Now, new federal legislation seeks to address the problem.