Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another State Legalizes Medical Marijuana

Rhode Island is about to legalize Medical Marijuana with the State licensing dispensaries.

PROVIDENCE — Nearly a decade after patient advocates first pressed for full-scale legalization of marijuana for medical use, Rhode Island on Tuesday became only the second state to establish state-licensed dispensaries to sell the drug to the critically ill.

Senate lawmakers gave final approval to the House and Senate versions of the legislation, sending it to the governor’s desk with enough votes to override a veto, if necessary.

Governor Carcieri, a longtime critic of medical marijuana, confirmed in a brief interview Tuesday that he will “do the same thing I’ve done with it in the past.” A year ago he vetoed a compromise plan to study the concept, saying it would “move Rhode Island further down the path of weakening the laws governing — and public perception of — illicit drugs.”

But Senate lawmakers approved the legislation in an easy 31-2 vote Tuesday, days after the House approved the same plans in a 63-5 vote. Both tallies are well beyond the three-fifths majority needed to override a veto.

Senate sponsor Rhoda Perry, D-Providence, predicts that if required, the Assembly will override a gubernatorial veto before the session ends later this month.

“That’s one of the reasons that we [passed] it as fast as we did it,” Perry said. “We still have a few weeks left here … I just can’t imagine the leadership wouldn’t have the will to override a veto.”
So how many States would that be total?

Fourteen since California started the ball rolling in Nov. of 1996. A bit more than one a year. Not too bad.

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