Latest RI Attorney General Bill Would Effectively End Grow Rights for Patients and Caregivers

RI AG Peter Kilmartin has, once again, offered a bill that would, in effect, bring an end to growing MMj by patients and their caregivers while empowering the compassion centers.  AG Kilmartin’s bill is identical to his 2013 bill except that it is more extreme in three ways:

1. It reduces the amount of permissible plants by 75% (the 2013 bill tried to reduce plant limits by 50%)

2. Like the 2013 bill, the 2014 bill would double the possession limits of useable MMj. However, the 2014 bill would count the weight of freshly harvested cannabis in spite of the fact that freshly harvested cannabis may lose 80% of its weight before it is dried and useable.

3. It would eliminate the limits on plants (now 99 mature and 51 seedlings) that can be grown by compassion centers  along with the limits on useable cannabis. 

Here is a summary of the bill, now known as HB 7610 in the House of Representatives and SB 2566 in the Senate (they are identical bills):
Cultivation Certificates    If enacted, the AG’s bill would require all patients and caregivers to have cultivation certificates issued by the Dept. of Health (DoH) for a one year term at a fee to be determined by the DoH. The DoH could retain fees for the management of the MMj Program.  Applications for cultivation certificates would require patients and caregivers:
  • Grow at ONE site only which must be in their residence or building that they own
  • Multiple cardholders would be prohibited from growing together unless it was in their residence
  • No multiple certificates in nonresidential settings
  • Description of grow site ensuring that grow is not visible from street or to public
  • Description of security “devices” and “proof of secure grounds”
  • Written acknowledgement of “limitations of right to use and possess”
  • INSPECTION and APPROVAL of LOCAL ZONING/BUILDING INSPECTORS. Inspectors from the town or city would have to inspect and approve before every grow site before cultivation certificate could be issued. No confidentiality requirements specified for inspections. No time limits or other specified protections for patients and caregivers.

 Possession Limits

Plant limits would be reduced by 75%.  Amounts of useable medicine would be doubled but not really because “freshly harvested wet medicine” would be counted.

Patients may now possess 12 mature plants 12 seedlings and 2.5 dry useable cannabis.  This bill would allow 3 mature plants, 3 seedlings, and 5 ounces of cannabis (wet and dried combined)

Caregivers with one patient may now possess 12 mature plants 12 seedlings and 2.5 dry useable cannabis.  This bill would allow 3 mature plants, 3 seedlings, and 5 ounces of cannabis (wet and dried combined)

Caregivers with 2 -5 patients may now possess 24 mature plants, 12 seedlings and 5 ounces of dried usable medicine.  This bill would allow 6 mature plants, 3 seedlings and 5 ounces of cannabis (wet and dried combined)

 Landlords

Landlords would have the right to not rent or evict anyone growing against their wishes.

 National Background Checks and Felonies

Instead of BCI, caregivers would submit to national background checks. The exceptions for caregivers with felony drug convictions would be eliminated. Convictions would also include pleas of nolo contendre  and deferred sentences.

Caregivers would be required to turn in their cards to DoH when they no longer have patients.

Requires DoH to revoke cards of both patients and caregivers if convicted of felony drug offenses while they are cardholders.

24 Hour Verification Service

 Police could verify legitimacy of MMj card 24 hours a day.  Language is very broad and may allow for police to call service with any name and/or address to discover who is in Program. Investigation or probable cause would not be required for police to make inquiry.

Compassion Centers

Removes limits on the number of plants and amount of useable cannabis.  Inventory would be limited to “reflect the needs of the registered qualified patients”

Legislative Findings

Adds public safety concerns as one of the purposes for the MMj Act.

Hearings on the bill have not yet been scheduled. To  follow this bill and other developments in the RI MMj Program please check with this web site on a regular basis, follow RIPAC on facebook, join our mailing list and attend RIPAC meetings.  Support RI MMj patients and caregivers.

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