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1US RI: Preliminary Injunction Prevents Smithfield From RestrictingWed, 27 Sep 2017
Source:Providence Journal, The (RI) Author:Mooney, Tom Area:Rhode Island Lines:Excerpt Added:09/29/2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday preventing the town of Smithfield from enforcing a recent amendment to its zoning ordinance that restricted the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana.

In his decision, Superior Court Associate Justice Richard A. Licht questioned whether local communities had the power to regulate "small-scale" medical marijuana cultivation under its zoning authority, which traditionally has been used to determine land use.

In April, the Smithfield Town Council passed an ordinance that limits licensed medical marijuana patients to two mature plants and two seedlings, and only at a patient's primary residence. Rhode Island law specifically allows for the cultivation of 12 mature plants and outlines where medical marijuana can be grown.

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2US RI: Federal Drug Agency Asks R.I. For Medical Marijuana PatientSat, 16 Sep 2017
Source:Providence Journal, The (RI) Author:Bogdan, Jennifer Area:Rhode Island Lines:Excerpt Added:09/19/2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A federal anti-drug program has asked Rhode Island - -- and more than two dozen other states where medical marijuana is legal -- to turn over data about patients in the program.

The move has alarmed some who question why the federal government, which has at times appeared to be antagonistic towards the drug, is interested in the information.

The National Marijuana Initiative, an arm of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, which reports to the White House, contacted the Rhode Island Department of Health in August seeking data from 2012 to 2016 on the number of patients in the program, as well as patients' age, gender and a breakdown of the medical conditions under which they qualified.

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3US RI: Goal Of Nation's First Opioid Court: Keep Users AliveSun, 09 Jul 2017
Source:Providence Journal, The (RI) Author:Thompson, Carolyn Area:Rhode Island Lines:Excerpt Added:07/14/2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - After three defendants fatally overdosed in a single week last year, it became clear that Buffalo's ordinary drug treatment court was no match for the heroin and painkiller crisis.

Now the city is experimenting with the nation's first opioid crisis intervention court, which can get users into treatment within hours of their arrest instead of days, requires them to check in with a judge every day for a month instead of once a week, and puts them on strict curfews. Administering justice takes a back seat to the overarching goal of simply keeping defendants alive.

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4US RI: States With Medical Marijuana Laws Have Lower Traffic FatalityMon, 26 Dec 2016
Source:Providence Journal, The (RI) Author:Kunkle, Fredrick Area:Rhode Island Lines:Excerpt Added:12/27/2016

Researchers found an 11 percent reduction in traffic fatalities on average when examining places that have enacted medical marijuana laws -- 23 states (including Rhode Island) and the District of Columbia. By Fredrick Kunkle, The Washington Post

States with medical marijuana laws have fewer traffic fatalities than those without, especially among younger drivers, a new study found.

You would think crash rates might be higher, supposing that more drivers are, too - especially around midnight, when a run to a 7-Eleven becomes necessary.

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5 US RI: Bill Would Let Narragansett Indians Grow HempSun, 22 May 2016
Source:Call, The (Woonsocket, RI)          Area:Rhode Island Lines:32 Added:05/23/2016

PROVIDENCE ( AP) - The Narragansett Indian Tribe would be able to grow hemp in Rhode Island under a new bill proposed in the state's General Assembly.

Rep. Helio Melo, an East Providence Democrat, introduced the legislation on Thursday.

The bill says the tribe historically used hemp products for clothing and housing and wants to use it again as a business opportunity. The bill would also allow universities to grow hemp for research or educational purposes.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 28 states have laws in place related to industrial hemp.

It's legal to import hemp from abroad, but federal law only allows cultivation of hemp as a research project by states and universities.

Industrial hemp is related to marijuana but has a lower concentration of the drug's mind-altering ingredient.


6US RI: Editorial: R.I. Faces The Opioid CrisisWed, 18 May 2016
Source:Providence Journal, The (RI)          Area:Rhode Island Lines:Excerpt Added:05/19/2016

Gov. Gina Raimondo has unveiled a smart, multipronged plan to attack the drug-overdose deaths afflicting Rhode Island. Her comprehensive approach leaves few aspects of this public health emergency unaddressed and, if appropriate funding is forthcoming, should help to slow what has become a devastating loss of lives.

The governor has proposed spending $4 million in the next fiscal year to curb the misuse of opioids. A prime focus would be the use of medication-assisted treatment to help wean users off more dangerous drugs. Ms. Raimondo's "Strategic Action Plan" also calls for doubling the number of certified peer-recovery specialists, who are trained to intervene in a crisis and help steer drug users toward treatment.

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7 US RI: Bishop Tobin Just Says No to Legalization of MarijuanaWed, 11 May 2016
Source:Pawtucket Times (RI) Author:O'Brien, Matt Area:Rhode Island Lines:60 Added:05/11/2016

Fears Negative Consequences Pot Could Have on Society

PROVIDENCE (AP) - Rhode Island's Roman Catholic bishop said he wants to smell holy incense, not cannabis, in Providence's cathedral and warned state lawmakers against transporting young people to "the land of oblivion" by legalizing marijuana.

Bishop Thomas Tobin shared his opinions in an essay titled "Nope to Dope." The essay was published on a diocesan website Tuesday, just hours before a hearing on a bill to legalize pot.

Tobin said he's heard about "zombie-like" people who are "completely stoned" filling public places in Colorado, where marijuana is legal. He said young people already addicted to electronic devices and "attached to their virtual umbilical cords" would become more detached from society if the drug were legal. He said he was disturbed by a recent report of a woman smoking pot in the back of a cathedral during a morning service.

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8 US RI: Smoke SignalsSun, 17 Apr 2016
Source:Call, The (Woonsocket, RI) Author:Nadeau, Joseph B. Area:Rhode Island Lines:237 Added:04/17/2016

Forum Offers Sobering Opinions on Push for Legalization of Marijuana

The increasing speculation that Rhode Island will further ease restrictions on the use of marijuana had area prevention coalitions raising a flag of caution at a recent Town Hall Meeting, hosted on the campus of Amica Insurance, to talk about how those changes could affect young people.

The forum on marijuana focused on how the drug affects adolescents and the developing teenage brain with the help of Dr. Lilia RomeroBosch, a psychiatrist, and also presented information on existing trends in drug use among teens from Margaret Johnson, a student assistance counselor for the Warwick school department. There was also a youth panel of students who gave first-hand accounts of what is happening in their schools in North Smithfield, Lincoln, Cumberland, Woonsocket and Scituate. The discussion was moderated by Nancy Denuccio, chairwoman of the Ocean State Prevention Alliance. Romero-Bosch related her experiences in counseling family members with substance abuse problems, and her experiences with patients who are trying to quit substance abuse while also participating in marijuana production.

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9 US RI: Obit: Howard Marks, 70 International Drug SmugglerFri, 15 Apr 2016
Source:Pawtucket Times (RI) Author:Langer, Emily Area:Rhode Island Lines:45 Added:04/16/2016

Howard Marks, a Welsh-born, Oxford-trained drug smuggler who for years ran a globe-spanning marijuana ring, enraging officials and entertaining the public on both sides of the Atlantic as a countercultural scofflaw, died April 10. He was 70.

Mr. Marks revealed last year that he had inoperable bowel cancer, and his death was announced by Pan Macmillan, the publisher Mr. Smiley: My of his most recent book, Last Pill and Testament (2015). Other details were not immediately available.

Once described as "sounding like Richard Burton and looking like a Rolling Stone," Mr. Marks achieved celebrity and notoriety in a life that took him from a mining village to the University of Oxford, to prison, and finally to bestsellerdom with the release of his memoir Mr. Nice (1996).

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10 US RI: Look Before You LeafWed, 06 Apr 2016
Source:Pawtucket Times (RI) Author:Olivo, Russ Area:Rhode Island Lines:165 Added:04/07/2016

PROVIDENCE - Amid signs that the political climate for legalizing marijuana is growing increasingly friendly, officials in charge of the new regulatory machinery in Colorado and Washington State have some cautionary words of advice: Look before you leap.

Marley Bardovsky, the assistant director of prosecution for the Denver City Attorney's Office, and Darwin Roberts, deputy attorney general for Washington State, were among a panel of experts who spoke Tuesday at a forum on legalization at the Brown University Medical Center.

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11 US RI: AG To Host Marijuana Legalization ForumMon, 04 Apr 2016
Source:Pawtucket Times (RI)          Area:Rhode Island Lines:30 Added:04/04/2016

PROVIDENCE (AP) - Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is hosting a forum on marijuana regulation and policy that will focus on learning from states that have legalized the drug.

Tuesday's forum at Brown University will include speakers from the marijuana industry group the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Production.

Representatives from states where marijuana is legal will also speak, including a representative from the city of Denver, another from the Washington attorney general's office, and a researcher from the Washington State Institute on Public Policy.

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12 US RI: Rhode Island AG to Hold Forum on Legalizing MarijuanaMon, 04 Apr 2016
Source:Day, The (New London,CT)          Area:Rhode Island Lines:30 Added:04/04/2016

Providence (AP) - Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is hosting a forum on marijuana regulation and policy that will focus on learning from states that have legalized the drug.

Tuesday's forum at Brown University will include speakers from the marijuana industry group the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Production.

Representatives from states where marijuana is legal will also speak, including a representative from the city of Denver, another from the Washington attorney general's office and a researcher from the Washington State Institute on Public Policy.

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13 US RI: Taking On Opioid Crisis, One Town At A TimeThu, 10 Mar 2016
Source:Pawtucket Times (RI) Author:Fitzgerald, Joseph Area:Rhode Island Lines:196 Added:03/11/2016

Uxbridge Community Leaders Collaborate on Solutions As Mass. Battles Addiction

UXBRIDGE - If there was an overriding message from Uxbridge's community forum on opioid addiction it would be: "We are all in this together."

"None of us has the total answer. A total collaboration across the board - that's where the answers will be," said Craig Maxim, program director of Family Continuity, a mental health provider and head of the Northbridge Coalition.

Maxim was one of several panelists at the forum hosted by the Uxbridge Coalition for a Community of Caring. The panel included representatives from the medical community, state legislators, the district attorney's office, the police and fire departments, schools and support groups.

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14 US RI: R.I. Bill Would Double Medical Marijuana DispensariesSun, 06 Mar 2016
Source:Day, The (New London,CT)          Area:Rhode Island Lines:27 Added:03/07/2016

Providence ( AP) - The number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island could double as part of a new bill introduced in the General Assembly.

Democratic Rep. Scott Slater of Providence has proposed increasing the number of state-permitted compassion centers from three to six.

The bill would allow no more than one new dispensary to open in each of the state's four counties.

Slater says locating the centers around the state will give patients with debilitating conditions an easier trip to pick up their medication.

The Providence Journal reports that one proposed dispensary called the Blackstone Valley Compassion Center already has a registered lobbyist.


15 US RI: PUB LTE: Pot Legalization May Drop Hard-Drug UseWed, 02 Mar 2016
Source:Day, The (New London,CT) Author:White, Stan Area:Rhode Island Lines:41 Added:03/03/2016

One reason to re-legalize cannabis (marijuana) that doesn't get mentioned, "Rhode Island Senate Majority Leader Signs on to Legalize Marijuana," (Feb. 21), is because it may lower hard-drug addiction rates. That list includes opioids, which have been in news in The Day a lot recently.

Selling cannabis in a regulated market removes sales from people who may also sell hard drugs. Some citizens who legitimately use opioids for medical conditions may choose cannabis, if it is available over the counter, like in Colorado. That could lower hard drug addiction rates.

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16 US RI: Rhode Island Senate Majority Leader Signs on toSun, 21 Feb 2016
Source:Day, The (New London,CT)          Area:Rhode Island Lines:61 Added:02/21/2016

Providence (AP) - A push to legalize recreational marijuana in Rhode Island has won the support of a top lawmaker.

Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, a North Providence Democrat, has signed on as co-sponsor of a bill to treat marijuana like alcohol by legalizing, regulating and taxing it.

"It is an important conversation to have," Ruggerio said in a statement. "I have listened to the debate regarding legalization of marijuana over the years and watched the experience in states such as Colorado," which legalized the commercial sale of the drug.

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17 US RI: R.I. Revenues From Medical Marijuana Miss The MarkMon, 17 Aug 2015
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Anthony, Amy Area:Rhode Island Lines:61 Added:08/17/2015

PROVIDENCE (AP) - It has been two years since Rhode Island launched its medical marijuana market and opened dispensaries around the state, but tax revenues haven't been quite as high as state officials expected.

There are now three medical marijuana dispensaries - also known as compassion centers - selling marijuana to patients in Rhode Island, with the state collecting a 4 percent surcharge and a 7 percent sales tax on all their transactions. While revenues are increasing, some centers say they're facing increasing competition from caregivers who can grow and sell medical marijuana without paying taxes to the state.

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18US RI: Judge Refuses to Dismiss Medical Marijuana User's CaseWed, 12 Aug 2015
Source:Providence Journal, The (RI) Author:Mulvaney, Katie Area:Rhode Island Lines:Excerpt Added:08/13/2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A Superior Court judge Tuesday refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing a Westerly fabric company of violating a West Warwick woman's civil rights and state law by denying her a paid summer internship after she disclosed that she carried a medical marijuana card.

Judge Richard A. Licht denied a motion by Darlington Fabrics Corp. and its parent company, The Moore Company, to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Christine Callaghan. The suit alleges that Darlington Fabrics violated the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act and the state medical marijuana law when it turned down Callaghan for a paid internship at the company in July 2014 after she told human resources she was a medical marijuana cardholder. Callaghan uses medical marijuana to treat "occasional debilitating migraine headaches," according to the ACLU.

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19US RI: OPED: Don't Fall For Warnings About PotSat, 27 Jun 2015
Source:Providence Journal, The (RI) Author:Nathan, David L. Area:Rhode Island Lines:Excerpt Added:06/29/2015

It's no secret. Most Americans now favor making marijuana legal. The national numbers are similar to those in Rhode Island, where a recent poll showed that 57 percent of Rhode Island residents support legalization. Prohibitionists are rapidly losing the debate because the facts are against them. Nonetheless, they continue to repeat three arguments that have been thoroughly debunked by objective scientific research.

First, opponents of legalization claim that marijuana is a "gateway" to hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. Numerous studies over the past 70 years - including one commissioned by the White House - have discredited this hypothesis. Yet prohibitionists continue to claim that marijuana use leads to later use of heroin and other dangerous drugs. Roughly half of all American adults have tried marijuana. If marijuana is a "gateway drug" as opponents claim, why do we find that only 2 percent of Americans have ever tried heroin?

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20US RI: Religious Ceremony Using Cannabis Held Without IncidentSun, 24 May 2015
Source:Providence Journal, The (RI) Author:Herbaugh, Tracee M. Area:Rhode Island Lines:Excerpt Added:05/24/2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Members of a local church who use marijuana in various forms for what they claim is a religious ritual gathered at Roger Williams National Memorial on Saturday, while several U.S. Park Service police officers watched to make sure no one in the group smoked on federal property.

Instead, four members of the West Greenwich-based Healing Church anointed each other with cannabis-infused oil at the well at the park. They also drank a jar full of a white liquid, called bhang, made from fermented kefir grains, honey and marijuana. But they didn't smoke because authorities made it clear that smoking marijuana on federal grounds would not be tolerated.

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