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Governor Busts Medical Marijuana Bill

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
PROVIDENCE - Standing firm on his veto threat despite an almost certain override in both chambers of the General Assembly, Gov. Donald Carcieri Monday rejected legislation to make Rhode Island's medical marijuana law permanent.

In identical veto messages to House Speaker William Murphy and Senate President Joseph Montalbano, Carcieri said: "If enacted, this legislation will enable qualified persons to acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, use, deliver, transfer or transport marijuana or paraphernalia relating to the consumption of marijuana" for problems ranging from cancer to unspecified pain.

"As I said in my veto message in 2005," Carcieri reminded the legislative leaders, "I support efforts to provide effective pain management to persons suffering from debilitating conditions, but not in a way that violates federal law and ignores the drug approval process as established by the Food and Drug Administration."

The governor said that would result in an increase in illegal activity as well as the use by Rhode Islanders of potentially unsafe substances. He pointed out that marijuana is still classified by the medical community as a hallucinogenic drug and is classified by the federal government as a Schedule 1 drug (drugs that have high potential for abuse and which currently have no accepted medical use).

"As a result," he explained, "this legislation could potentially subject Rhode Islanders to federal prosecution, while significantly complicating the responsibilities of state and local law enforcement officials."

The "bottom line," Carcieri said in his veto message, is that "this legislation would give vulnerable Rhode Island citizens a false sense of security regarding the legality and safety of producing, distributing and using marijuana, a substance which is neither legal under federal law nor regulated in any way by any government agency."

The law, passed in 2005 over Carcieri's veto, exempts people with serious, painful or degenerative illnesses, such as cancer, AIDS or multiple sclerosis, who obtain certification from a physician, from state laws regarding the possession, cultivation and use of 2.5 ounces of "useable marijuana" and up to 12 marijuana plants. A patient can designate two caregivers who are then certified to possess the same amounts. A caregiver can serve up to five patients, but is limited to a total of 5 ounces of marijuana or 24 plants.
The original law was written with a sunset provision that will cause it to expire June 30 if the legislature does not override the governor's veto. If that happened, sponsors said, the exception in the law for medical marijuana would be void and they would have to pass a new law from scratch next January.

But the veto message drew quick assurances from leaders in both the House and Senate that they would call votes to override the governor's action and pass the law over his objection.

House Majority Leader Gordon Fox issued a statement Monday saying, "I fully expect that we will place a vote to override the Governor's medical marijuana veto on the floor calendar before the end of our session. The vote on Rep. (Thomas) Slater's bill made it clear that there is an overwhelming majority in the House willing to remove the sunset clause on this compassionate legislation."

Montalbano issued a statement saying: "The Senate will consider a veto override of Senator Perry's compassionate medical marijuana legislation prior to final adjournment of the 2007 session. The state has not experienced any problems during the law's trial period, and medical marijuana is in some cases the only treatment option that effectively alleviates chronic pain and nausea in terminally ill patients, which is why the measure is supported by health organizations such as the Rhode Island Medical Society, the American Nurses Association and the American Public Health Association."

News Hawk- User 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Pawtucket Times
Author: Jim Baron
Contact: The Pawtucket Times - News - Contact Us
Copyright: Pawtucket Times
Website: The Pawtucket Times - Governor busts medical marijuana bill
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