RI medical marijuana patients upset with threat to prosecute dispensaries

May 3rd, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

PROVIDENCE — The growing ranks of patients in the state’s medical-marijuana program are frustrated, depressed and angry with last week’s announcement that the U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island is threatening to prosecute and take civil action against anyone involved in the state’s three proposed marijuana dispensaries.

JoAnne Lepannen, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, said that she has been flooded with calls from many of the 3,459 patients in the program designed to help those with chronic pain and other medical maladies cope with the ailments.

“We are having much more of a depression problem,” she said. “We are talking about a population of people with very debilitating illness. People are losing hope. They just want to pull down the shades and give up.”

Lepannen is hoping to roust many of the patients from their slumber on Wednesday at 1 p.m. for a rally at the State House rotunda. They will gather to express their disappointment with the federal initiative that Peter Neronha, the U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island, made public late Friday afternoon. They also will urge Governor Chafee to support the state law that legalized medical marijuana in 2006 and allowed for the establishment of three dispensaries, or compassion centers, to sell marijuana in the state.

On Monday, Chafee’s office “placed a hold” on the dispensaries in response to Neronha’s announcement.

Rhode Island is one of 15 states and the District of Columbia that permits the sale of medical marijuana. The other two New England states are Maine and

Article source: http://www.projo.com/news/content/MORE_MED_POT_05-04-11_KINSSR1_v18.1184a71.html