Though states may vote in favor of beginning medical marijuana, the actual process to get dispensaries up and running is often long and full of delays, sometimes taking years before medical marijuana is actually available for legal sale in the state. That has been the case in Rhode Island, which voted for medical marijuana in 2006 but has seen the program stall, largely because of fears from Governor Lincoln D. Chaffee of Federal interference. But, after a vote yesterday in the Rhode Island Senate, the MMJ program is likely to begin.
The new legislation lays out amounts that medical marijuana compassion centers are allowed to keep on hand in the state and will now be forwarded to the House which has similar legislation already up for review.
The sponsor of the bill, State Senator Rhoda E. Perry, had this to say:
What’s important to us is getting the licensing process back on track so the facilities can open and safely get some relief to suffering people. Every day these centers aren’t open is another day that many sick and dying Rhode Islanders and their families or caregivers are forced to turn to unsafe, illegal means to get their medicine.
Besides capping the amount that compassion centers are allowed to grow and sell, the new legislation also lays out a number of other guidelines for the medical marijuana program. Medical marijuana patients are allowed to sell their excess yield to the centers, criminal background checks are required for employees of the compassion centers, and that the state police will be involved in suggestions for security at the compassion centers.
Most importantly, though, is that this will allow for these medical marijuana centers to begin opening in Rhode Island. Most reports seem to indicate that three dispensaries could open in the next few months.
Does this make up for the long delay for medical marijuana in Rhode Island?