There are two bills pertaining to pot being heard at the State House tonight. One deals with to recreational use, and would make Rhode Island the third state in the nation to legalize marijuana. Read more about that bill here. The other deals with medical use, and would make it harder for patients and their legal caregivers to grow their own.
The medical marijuana restrictions bill, was introduced at the bequest of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. A Providence Journal article this morning highlights ways in which the medical marijuana program has been exploited by criminals. Kilmartin’s bill, he says in the article, would reduce these criminal exploitations.
It would also have a great impact on the more than 7,000 patients and 3,500 caregivers in the state’s medical marijuana program.
The bill would reduce the number of plants a patient or caregiver could have from 12 to 3. An average indoor marijuana plant yields about a four ounces and takes at least four months to bring to harvest. The bill also includes “freshly harvested wet marijuana” as “usable” medicine, effectively dramatically reducing the amount of pot a patient or grower can have even though it technically raises the legal weight of permissible pot from 2.5 ounces to 5 ounces.
Kilmartin’s bill would require a local zoning inspection of the grow, and allow local police to inspect the site at any time. It also mandates that a potential patient or caregiver be vetted by the FBI rather than state police.
It would also grant landlords “the discretion not to lease or continue to lease to a cardholder who cultivates marijuana in the leased premises.”
Kilmartin revisions to the state’s medical marijuana law would also eliminate the limit on the number of plants state-sanctioned compassion centers can grow. Currently, these three state-sanctioned businesses can grow up to 99 plants.