Published: June 29, 2005
The Rhode Island legislature passed a bill yesterday allowing the use of medical marijuana, three weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that federal authorities could prosecute those who use the drug for medicinal purposes, even in states with laws allowing it.
The bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 33 to 1 last evening and will head to the desk of Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, who is likely to reject it. Supporters of the bill, which passed the House 52 to 10 last week, are confident they have the necessary three-fifths majority to override a veto and make Rhode Island the 11th state to authorize patients to use the drug.
The law would allow those with a "debilitating medical condition," including cancer, glaucoma and AIDS, to receive a signed statement from their doctor stating they would benefit from marijuana. Patients and their caregivers would be entered into a registry kept by the State Department of Health.
Patients, who must be Rhode Islanders, would receive a state registration card allowing them or their caregivers to grow up to 12 marijuana plants indoors or possess up to 2.5 ounces without being arrested. Doctors would be able to prescribe the drug for only five patients at a time.
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