Medical marijuana compassion centers may be able to open soon thanks to a compromise deal between legislators and Governor Chafee that would limit the amount of marijuana a compassion center could on its premises.
“Basically the compromise sets out stricter guidelines for the compassion centers,” said Rep. Scott Slater, D- Providence, the sponsor of the bill in the House. “One of the major hangups that the governor had and the feds is the profits the compassion centers listed in their applications.”
By limiting the amount of medical cannabis that a compassion center could have on site, lawmakers hope that federal authorities would not have reason to intervene. It would also allow caregivers, or medical marijuana growers, to provide the compassion centers with marijuana they grow. He said it was unclear whether they will be able to sell their product to the compassion centers.
The original medical marijuana compassion center law was approved in 2009, but after a long process to select the three state-approved centers, Governor Chafee then declined to give final approval for the centers after federal authorities threatened to intervene if the compassion centers opened. Medical marijuana is still not recognized by federal law.
Chafee, according to a press release, now seems to be more comfortable with the way the centers would operate. “I look forward to passage of a bill that will avoid federal intervention and bring needed medicinal relief to those who stand to benefit,” he said.
Slater, whose father sponsored the existing law, said the bill will be heard in committee sometime in the next few weeks and then will have to be voted on by both the House and Senate before the compromise bill becomes law.