Political Scene: At long last, R.I.’s medical marijuana oversight panel will meet

Political Scene: At long last, R.I.’s medical marijuana oversight panel will meet

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A mere eight years after Rhode Island led the nation in authorizing medical marijuana dispensaries, the legislative oversight committee called for in the law will meet for the first time, on March 28. What’s taken so long is something of a mystery. Journal State House Bureau JenniferBogdan By Patrick Anderson Journal Staff Writer patrickanderso_ Better late than never? On June 17, 2009, the General Assembly overrode former Gov. Donald Carcieri ‘s veto to make Rhode Island the first state in the nation to pass a law allowing medical marijuana dispensaries. The law called for creating an oversight committee to keep tabs on this brave new world. On March 28, 2017 — a mere eight years later — the "Legislative Oversight Commission of the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act" will have its first meeting. What’s taken so long is something of a mystery. "When you’re the first in the country to do something as bold as to create a legal framework to dispense something that is important medicine and yet illegal under federal law, you might want to keep an eye on it," said JoAnne Leppanan , who heads a patient advocacy group that lobbied for the law. "I always had the impression that’s what the function of the advisory committee would be — to advise the legislature." House spokesman Larry Berman last week said Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has named the following people to the committee: Rep. Scott Slater , D-Providence (representing the House); Sen. Joshua Miller , D-Cranston (representing the Senate); Dr. Thomas Handel (a physician selected from a list provided by the Rhode Island Medical Society); Donna Policastro (a nurse selected from a list provided by the Rhode Island Nurses Association); Rebecca McGoldrick (registered medical marijuana patient); Ellen Smith (registered medical marijuana patient); […]

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