March 6, 2012

Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program Back on Track, But Federal Threat Remains

Medical pot updates, cannabis dispensary news and marijuana developments

An interesting turn of events in Rhode Island over the past few days has given medical cannabis proponents, would-be MMJ professionals and industry vendors new hope that the state will move forward with its marijuana dispensary program.

Last week, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and state lawmakers announced an agreement that would allow three cannabis dispensaries to open in the near future. The crux of the deal is a provision that strictly limits the amount of marijuana centers could have on hand at any given time, which lawmakers hope will ease concerns that individuals will be prosecuted by the federal government. The state General Assembly must now approve the agreement, and it is expected to do so.

Rhode Island was set to begin a dispensary program last year and had already chosen three would-be MMJ centers, but Chafee blocked it at the 11th hour after the government warned that those involved could face criminal charges.

The deal reached by lawmakers last week is good news for the 4,500 residents with state-approved medical marijuana cards, who currently have limited options for obtaining their medicine. It also could be a boon for  entrepreneurs, would-be dispensary owners and businesses that can service the industry, including hydroponics shops and security companies.

But this roller coaster ride isn’t over yet, and no one is sure what’s around the next bend, as the federal government could once again scuttle the whole shebang.

The top federal attorney in Rhode Island responded yesterday to the state’s dispensary plans, saying in a letter that the government is still opposed to medical marijuana and that dispensary owners could face prosecution.

Of course, no one expected a U.S. attorney to come out in support of an MMJ program, so the reaction to the letter so far has been muted. It appears likely that the state will push through its dispensary program this time despite the federal threats, as lawmakers now believe they have made all efforts to ensure that the program will not be abused, lowering the risk of prosecution.

Post Your Comment:

Please note:
Comments are moderated by our editors who do their best to approve comments ASAP. As Marijuana Business Daily is focused on business, we approve comments that are specifically relevant to industry professionals. General opinions and questions about cannabis may not be posted.

DC Bans Consumption at Private Clubs

In a bid to curtail premature business opportunities tied to recreational marijuana, city leaders in [click to continue...]

$36 Million Raised for Ohio MJ Legalization

A group in Ohio has already raised $36 million for a proposed ballot measure that would [click to continue...]

PharmaCann Poised to Hold Most IL Licenses


After a medical marijuana company abandoned its cultivation license on Monday in an area west [click to continue...]

WA Could Outlaw Marijuana Vending Machines

Washington State entrepreneurs hoping to sell marijuana through vending machines or drive-up windows took a [click to continue...]

Cannabis Producers Have New Worry: Stoned Rabbits

Cannabis businesses face opposition from anti-marijuana advocates worried about the drug falling into the hands [click to continue...]

Nevada Senator: Secrecy in MMJ Licensing Process a ‘Disaster’

Las Vegas MMJ

Nearly 40% of the 519 businesses that applied for medical cannabis business licenses in Nevada [click to continue...]

Florida’s Second Stab at CBD Rules Questioned

Florida is having a hard time figuring out rules for its CBD industry. The state [click to continue...]

Maine Medical Cannabis Sales Total $16.2M

Dispensaries in Maine sold an estimated $16.2 million worth of medical cannabis last year, while [click to continue...]

Oregon Agency Weighs in on MMJ, Rec Rules


Oregon could keep medical marijuana completely separate from recreational cannabis when retail sales begin next [click to continue...]

Missouri Awards Hemp Cultivation Licenses

Missouri has joined the growing number of states legalizing CBD-based medicines. The state awarded cultivation [click to continue...]

150K Pounds of Legal Marijuana Sold in CO Last Year

Dispensaries and retail cannabis stores in Colorado sold nearly 150,000 pounds of marijuana flower last [click to continue...]

Medical Cannabis Demand Outweighing Supply in DC

supply and demand

Recreational marijuana has dominated headlines out of Washington DC this week, as the use, possession [click to continue...]

Another Lawsuit Over MMJ Licensing Process in Illinois

A company that got turned down for one of the Illinois’ 21 medical marijuana cultivation [click to continue...]

MJ Financial Services Firm Secures $2M Investment

A financial services firm that plans to serve the cannabis industry has secured $2 million [click to continue...]