May 3, 2011

Federal Threats Force Rhode Island’s Dispensary Licensing Program Into Question

May 3, 2011
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By Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has responded to a threatening letter that U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha delivered last week, and according to the governor, it’s not good news for medical marijuana patients.

“The Department of Justice previously indicated that it would not focus its limited resources on doctors and their sick patients who prescribe and use marijuana if such use was permitted by state law,” Gov. Chafee correctly pointed out. “This position was interpreted by some states as giving them latitude to authorize medical marijuana cultivation and distribution programs.

“Friday’s letter makes it clear DOJ will now pursue certain commercial cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana, even if such cultivation and distribution is permitted by state law,” Chafee said (emphasis added).

“Compassion centers, their owners, landlords, financiers and other operations’ ‘facilitators’ are identified as potential targets of federal law enforcement activities,” Gov. Chafee said, reports ABC 6.

“None of Rhode Island’s compassion center applicants have received a certificate of registration to date,” the governor said. “In light of the United States Attorney’s articulated position on closing compassion centers, seizing proceeds and and prosecuting business enterprises that market and sell medical marijuana, I have placed a hold on the State’s medical marijuana certificate of registration program.

“During this hiatus, I will be consulting with the governors of other states with similar medical marijuana programs, with federal officials and with the compassion center applicants themselves,” Chafee said

Friday’s threatening letter from the United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island was part of the federal government’s recent pattern of threatening medical marijuana states through U.S. Attorneys.

It was delivered to Governor Chafee and copied to the director of the Department of Health and the three current Compassion Center applicants in the state.

Article From Toke of the Town and used with special permission.


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