Rhode Island’s first medical marijuana dispensary is set to open two weeks from today. The state health department has approved the permit for the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center.
The facility plans to grow its own marijuana but the first batch of medicine will be purchased from growers who participate in the state’s medical marijuana program. That’s because Slater wasn’t allowed to have any marijuana on hand while it awaited its final permits.
Two other dispensaries – in Warwick and Portsmouth – are awaiting state approval.
The Rhode Island Department of Health has issued the state's first certificate to operate to a medical marijuana retail store. The Thomas C. Slater compassion center must tell the department when it expects to begin selling marijuana to patients who qualify. But today's announcement means the center can officially open for business.
Thousands of patients with qualifying medical conditions have registered to be able to buy the drug. They don't need a prescription but do need a doctor to certify they're eligible.
RI's former Attorney General is in Brazil helping law enforcement looking into a deadly nightclub fire. RI and MA are working out how to best regulate centers which dispense medical marijuana. These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast. Also a special interview by Ian Donnis with US Attorney Peter Neronha.
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In Rhode Island, medical marijuana is already legal, through people who are so-called “caregivers” selling to patients. The state has established three “compassion centers” that haven’t opened yet. In Massachusetts, regulators are still considering how to implement the law. Doctors there want tighter controls.
News from the RI Dept. of Health from spokeswoman Dara Chadwick about medical marijuana. They’re close to finalizing the regulations for compassion centers. She writes that “…one more review meeting will be held to finalize. After that, the regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State’s office.”
The three approved applicants must then submit their “Registration to Operate a Medical Marijuana Compassion Center.”
Meanwhile, a lawsuit has just been filed accusing the Dept. of reversing course, without warning, on who can prescribe medical marijuana.
Science Friday is airing right now (the 2 o’clock hour on Friday) on Rhode Island Public Radio. (Listen now.) The topic is the medical value of marijuana; a federal appeals court is set to hear arguments about its value next week. Host Ira Flatow is talking to an oncologist and a microbiologist about it. Fascinating.