RI: ACLU, Patient Group To Challenge State's Medical Marijuana Regulations


Calling the state’s new medical marijuana regulations unnecessary and burdensome, the ACLU of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition said they plan to file legislation next year to overturn the rules.

The groups are citing several concerns, including a regulation requiring patients to see their physicians at least twice a year and turn over all relevant medical records documenting the patient’s medical condition. The regulations, they say, don’t address how patient confidentiality will be handled and come with a significant financial burden that could drive patients to the black market.

"It is both ironic and deeply disturbing that even as the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana in Rhode Island seems ever more likely, the state is putting completely unnecessary and burdensome obstacles in the way of those who need to use the drug for medicinal purposes," the state’s ACLU director, Steven Brown, said.

"In a few years, it will probably be easier for a healthy millennial to legally purchase marijuana than for a sick patient to do so."

The groups are also taking issue with a regulation that allows a patient to designate an "authorized purchaser" intended to help sick patients who have difficulty leaving home. The purchaser can buy marijuana from one of the three dispensaries, but requires $135 in registration and background check fees. JoAnne Leppanen, executive director of RIPAC, says it’s "insulting" to charge someone for being "helpful and kind."

The state is also closing a loophole that allowed out-of-state residents to act as "caregivers" for Rhode Island’s marijuana patients. A Providence Journal investigation found that roughly 45 people in Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut had been issued Rhode Island caregiver cards.

"We have Rhode Island caregivers who moved to Massachusetts but kept their commitment to their patients because their patients need them. The new regulations will sever those relationships," Leppanen said.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: ACLU, Patient Group To Challenge State’s ‘Burdensome’ Medical Marijuana Regulations
Author: Jennifer Bogdan
Contact: 401-277-7000
Photo Credit: None Found
Website: Providence Journal