RIPAC will be having a meeting this evening, Tuesday, April 25 at 7PM at 1192 Plainfield Street in Johnston at the APWU Hall. We will be talking about current events, the implications of the Smithfield ordinance and what we can do about it. You must have a MMj patient or caregiver card to attend this meeting.
Last night the Smithfield Town Council voted to pass the ordinance that eliminates caregivers, reduces patients to two mature and two seedlings, requires town inspection of grows and eliminates co-ops. They made only one amendment – to eliminate any potential compassion center. Despite concerns raised by RIPAC, the ACLU, and Regulate RI, and a couple of the councilors, the Council refused to get better educated and understand the impact on patients. For some reason, it was important for them to pass the ordinance last night. The Council president remarked that it could always be changed later. But it is in effect now.
Is this ordinance legal? We don’t think so. The ACLU doesn’t think so. Apparently, the AG does think so. If you are growing in Smithfield, or have a caregiver who is growing in Smithfield, and are interested in participating in a law suit, please email joanne@RIpatients.org and call the ACLU at 401.831.7171 for more information. Also, if you are approached by a Smithfield town official who tells you that you have to shut down your grow or limit your grow to two mature and two seedlings, or submit to an inspection, please contact your lawyer, if you have one. Contact RIPAC and the ACLU as soon as possible. All communications are, of course, confidential.
RIPAC has worked with many cities and towns and many many variations of zoning ordinances. Public hearings are usually the beginning of a productive dialogue as Councilors understand that they have much to learn about the MMj Program and its patients. After months, in one case two years, they pass an ordinance that either does not affect patient and caregiver grows or has minimal effect. Most town and city officials really don’t want to hurt patients. So, once they understand more about the Program and patients, they see their ordinances differently. They also don’t like the idea of being sued.
Smithfield’s approach has been to disregard the needs of patients. Apparently a committee was formed to create an ordinance. No patients, caregivers, or advocates were included or even consulted. The Attorney General’s office apparently played a major role.
Patients and caregivers from Smithfield did not testify at the hearing. We understand their need for privacy. The councilors did not hear from any residents who opposed the ordinance. That is a problem. We encourage Smithfield residents who are not growing but support those who are, to make their feelings known to the Council by email and by phone. They have heard from residents who support the ordinance including a nurse with a low opinion of MMj who stated that Marinol works!
You can view a video of the Council hearing at : https://vimeopro.com/smithfieldri/meetings/video/213864709
There is a public hearing TONIGHT, 4/18/17, at the Smithfield Town Council which will:
BAN CAREGIVER GROWING
LIMIT PATIENT GROWS TO TWO MATURE PLANTS AND TWO SEEDLINGS
REQUIRE INSPECTIONS OF PATIENT GROWS
BAN RESIDENTIAL AND NON-RESIDENTIAL CO-OPS
Hearing was held before the House Committee on Judiciary at 4/11/17 in the House Lounge at the State House. The following bills were heard:
- House Bill No. 5555 would establish a system for the regulation and taxation for adult use of cannabis. Would allow adults to grow 1 mature plant and 1 seedling with tags. Tags would cost up to 50 dollars for each plant. Would authorize 4 kinds of cannabis business registrations: at least 25 cultivation facilities, at least 40 retailers, at least 20 processors (permitted to create infused cannabis products such as oils, edibles, and tinctures), and at least 10 testing facilities. Products would be subject to a 23% retail excise tax in addition to the normal 7% sales tax. MMj Program would continue as is, as its own separate program;
- House Bill No. 5865 would increase the number of compassion centers from three (3) to six (6) ;
- House Resolution No. 5551 would create a 15 member commission to review and make recommendations on the effects of legalizing marijuana, and report back to the General Assembly by March 1, 2018;
- House Bill No. 5103 would make names and addresses of caregivers and cultivators public. This bill is contrary to confidentiality protections and, otherwise does not make sense. It states: Notwithstanding any confidentiality provisions to the contrary, the names and addresses for person or entity, including state licensed or state registered caregivers or cultivators, who grow marijuana pursuant the provisions of this chapter for public sale or use shall be public information, subject to release by the department of health. Caregivers do not grow for the public. They can only provide for up to five patients who appoint them through the Health Dept. They do not grow for the public. The addresses of licensed cultivator grows is already public. Our understanding is that this bill does not have much momentum. We will keep you posted. You can view the hearings on the Capital TV site: http://ricaptv.discovervideo.com/embedviews/vod?s=1&c=HOUSE%20COMMITTEE%20ON%20JUDICIARY&w=640&h=480
The law requires plants to have tags by this Saturday April 1. DBR started to distribute tags last week but they will not get to everyone before April 1. As long as you have correctly placed your order for tags before April 1 (this Saturday), save the receipt and you will be okay. DBR put in writing with the following emergency regulation that states the following:
During the Effective Period of this regulation (defined below), registered patients and primary caregivers shall be considered in compliance with R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6-15(a) and Section 1.9(C)(1) of the MMP Regulations, which mandate that effective April 1, 2017, marijuana plants, mature and seedlings must be accompanied by medical marijuana tags purchased through the Department (hereinafter “Tags”), if all of the following criteria are satisfied:
1. Prior to April 1, 2017, such patient or caregiver submits a valid order to DBR through DBR’s website for the total number of Tags required for that patient or caregiver to comply with R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6-15(a) and Section 1.9(C)(1) of the MMP Regulations;
2. Such patient or caregiver maintains a true and accurate copy of the purchase receipt provided by DBR with their marijuana plants at their grow premises; and
3. Such patient or caregiver submits applicable payment for and obtains their Tags within 10 business days of notification from DBR that the requested tags are available for pick-up.
If you have recently ordered and paid for tags and are wondering why you haven’t heard from DBR about when to pick them up, you are not alone. You may not hear for three weeks or so. Keep in mind that the tags are customized with your info on it and DBR is emailing notices to those whose tags are ready. If you just show up before you get your notice, your tags likely won’t be available yet.
DBR has started issuing tags to patients and caregivers. There have been glitches on the DBR website that have caused delays but DBR assures us that they will all get resolved. They are getting flooded with calls and are unable to get to all of them so don’t be surprised if you call but don’t get through. You are likely to get a faster result if you go to your email and send DBR a message at this address: DBR.MMPCompliance@dbr.ri.gov
DBR has assured us, once again, that no one will be penalized for not having tags by April 1, as long as they have put their order in for tags.
All licensed caregivers and patients are required to have tags on their plants by April 1. So, if you have entered your info on the DBR website but have not heard anything, you are not alone. Do not panic. No one has tags or even hear back from DBR about how to pay for their tags. We are waiting for an official statement from DBR that will put patients and caregivers at ease. We have received many inquiries from cardholders who are experiencing anxiety about the tags. Today is the 22nd so it doesn’t seem possible that all cardholders who applied will actually have their tags by April 1. It is not the fault of patients and caregivers that the tag program is experiencing delays.
To be compliant with the law, if you have not already ordered your tags, you should do so as soon as possible. Go to: http://www.dbr.state.ri.us/divisions/medicalmarijuana/index.php#medtags. Again, if patients and caregivers are following the DBR instructions, delays in the distribution of the tags are not their fault. But it is important, to avoid problems, that patients and caregivers do what we need to do to comply.