Letter to the Editor
As the executive director of AIDS Project Rhode Island, the state’s oldest provider of HIV care, prevention and advocacy, and on behalf of the thousands of Rhode Islanders living with HIV/AIDS on whose behalf we advocate, I urge the Rhode Island House of Representatives to take up the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana bill as their first order of business on Jan. 3 and to join the state Senate in overriding the governor’s misguided veto of this sensible, humane bill.
Legalizing the use of medical marijuana is a compassionate means of alleviating pain and discomfort for Rhode Islanders who suffer from chronic illnesses such as HIV. For many, such relief is almost impossible to get from pharmaceuticals that are currently on the market.
Over the past few years, we have worked with other providers and advocates to bring the medical marijuana bill to where it is today. Through the committee process, we have added the safeguards needed to ensure that medical marijuana brings much needed relief to those who need it without causing harm to others. Rhode Island’s medical marijuana bill is a strong piece of legislation, worthy of becoming law.
Unfortunately, we only have a very small window of opportunity in order to bring medical marijuana to Rhode Island. If the House adjourns the 2005 session on Jan.3 without taking up the veto, we will be forced to begin the entire process again, further delaying much needed relief for people with illnesses such as end-stage AIDS.
I appreciate the support that the leadership of the House has always provided to issues important to people living with HIV and I look forward to their support again this time.
Christopher A. Butler
AIDS Project Rhode Island