Posts Tagged ‘ medical marijuana ’

filed under: health care | medical marijuana

Slater Compassion Center Opens In Providence

4PM ON 19/04/2013
BY Beth Comery

slater compassion ctr

The Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center is open for business. The amusing names attached to certain cannabis strains may tend to undermine their image as serious medicine but this nomenclature has been evolving over many years and in no way diminishes the validity of the treatment. Plant taxonomy in general is full of sly references — particularly at the level of individual cultivars — why would this be any different.

Slater was a democratic member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 1995 until his death of lung cancer in 2009. One of the final pieces of legislation sponsored by Slater involved the legalization of medical marijuana; this despite the fact that he himself did not find the need of it for relief of his own symptoms. Slater just wanted to ensure safe and legal access for those who did.

The TCS Compassion Center is closed Mondays and located at 1 Corliss Street right across from the big post office (directions).

Hours: Tuesday through Friday 10am to 7pm/Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm. More details at the Slater Center website.


filed under: medical marijuana |

Compassion Center Open House

1PM ON 02/02/2013
BY Beth Comery

TCS (2.2) RIPAC executive director JoAnne Leppanen invites the public to take a look around the soon-to-open Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center.

The Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center is having an open house this weekend and offering tours of the Center. They are completing renovations and hope to be open, licensed and providing medicine to patients in March. The Health Department has authorized the Slater Center to begin the process of registering patients. The fee to appoint a compassion center is 25 dollars so if you think you might be interested in appointing the Center to be one of your caregivers, bring a check or money order payable to RI Island General Treasurer in the amount of  $25.

The facility is right across the street from the main post office on Corliss Street with plenty of parking. The place is huge with over half a dozen spaces for grow rooms, administrative offices, and the large dispensary itself. I was shown around by the highly energetic Liz Joseph who has helped shepherd this project through many frustrating false starts in other locations. Joseph’s design background is helping the team transform this former post office building into a welcoming and pleasing space (real nice light fixtures). Certain security features have been installed and incorporated of course. I think this location will work out well.

The Health Department has authorized the Slater Center to begin the process of registering patients. The fee to appoint a compassion center is $25, so if you think you might be interested in appointing the Center to be one of your caregivers, bring a check or money order payable to RI Island General Treasurer in the amount of $25. They are registering patients this weekend and throughout the week, and beyond.

Open House, 10am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday, February 2nd and 3rd, TCS Compassion Center, One Corliss Street, wheelchair accessible


filed under: medical marijuana |

RIPAC Community Meeting

2PM ON 10/09/2012
BY Daily Dose

RIPAC (9.11) The Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC) will hold a community meeting at their headquarters on Tuesday. This meeting is for anyone who wants to learn more about medical marijuana in RI. If you are interested in becoming a licensed patient or caregiver, this meeting is for you. Community meetings — the only RIPAC meetings open to the public — take place on the second Tuesday of every month but the location may change in the future. Visit RIpatients.org and click on calendar (left margin) for updates.

The RIPAC headquarters building is set off the street — look for the white building between Eagle Tool Co. and Sims Avenue with huge parking lot. Lots of free parking.

6:30pm, Tuesday, September 11, RIPAC headquarters, 498 Kinsley Avenue (directions)


filed under: medical marijuana |

RIPAC Community Meeting

8AM ON 13/08/2012
BY Daily Dose

Medical Marijuana (8.14) The Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC) holds community meetings on the second Tuesday of every month. (The location may change in the future so check RIPAC for updates.) These are the only meetings that are open to the general public.

This meeting is for anyone who wants to learn more about medical marijuana in Rhode Island. If you are interested in becoming a licensed patient or caregiver, this meeting is for you.

Look for the white building between Eagle Tool Co. and Simms Avenue with huge parking lot. Lots of free parking.

6:30pm, Tuesday, August 14, RIPAC Headquarters, 498 Kinsley Avenue (directions)


filed under: medical marijuana |

RIPAC Community Meeting

8AM ON 07/05/2012
BY Daily Dose

RIPAC Logo (5.8) Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC) executive director Joanne Leppanen invites the public to learn more about the current medical marijuana situation in Rhode Island at Tuesday’s ‘Community Meeting.’ Get information on becoming a licensed patient or caregiver and find out the latest news from the State House. (This meeting takes place on the second Tuesday of every month but the location may change in the future.)

6:30pm, Tuesday, May 8, RIPAC headquarters, 498 Kinsley Avenue


filed under: War on Drugs | medical marijuana

Chafee Asks Feds To Reclassify Medical Marijuana

10AM ON 01/12/2011
BY Beth Comery

xmas kush Medical marijuana advocates rejoice! Maybe Santa can bring a little Christmas Kush to Rhode Islanders in pain and distress. Governor Chafee has joined with Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire in asking federal authorities to reclassify marijuana. The reaction over at NORML,

NORML began the entire legal and political debate about ‘medical marijuana’ in 1972 when it launched a 24-year re-scheduling effort, that is still laboring on all these years.

Therefore to finally witness governors so frustrated with the absurdly mis-scheduled cannabis plant as being dangerous, addictive and possessing no medical utility (wrongly grouped with heroin and LSD) that they are reaching out to the president to fix this clear injustice and warping of science is a clear demonstration that the friction between the federal government’s recalcitrance on accepting medical cannabis (or for that matter ending Cannabis Prohibition in total) and state politicians who can no longer justify towing the fed’s ridiculous ban on physician-prescribed cannabis to sick, dying and sense-threatened medical patients is coming to a dramatic conclusion in a government showdown, one that may bode well for the larger Cannabis Prohibition reforms needed, festering just below the surface of the public’s mass acceptance of medical access to cannabis.

Marijuana — currently on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act — is regarded as more dangerous than Schedule II drugs such as methamphetamine, oxycodone and cocaine. Make sense? The New York Times suggests that the move has “injected new political muscle into the long-running debate on the status of marijuana.” Muscle! Chafee! (Full disclosure: I am a LEAP speaker advocating an end of the war on drugs, all drugs.) Chafee and Gregoire hope to bypass congressional gridlock on this matter with an administrative decision.

Well done Governor Chafee. Stay the course.


filed under: medical marijuana |

Big Ups For This Republican Governor

5PM ON 24/07/2011
BY Beth Comery

get christie love! Last Tuesday New Jersey Governor Christopher J. Christie gave the green light to six marijuana dispensaries in his state.

Christie, a Republican, who served as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey from 2002 through 2008, said he sought, but never received assurances from the Justice Department that those working in the marijuana programs would be exempt from federal prosecution.

“It’s a risk that I’m taking as governor,” said Christie at an afternoon news conference. “But I’m taking that risk because I believe the need to provide compassionate pain relief to these citizens of our state outweighs the risk that we are taking in moving forward with the program as it is set up.”

Wow. . . political courage. . . a principled stand. . . BALLS!

Speaking to the Providence Journal, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition JoAnne Leppanen,

. . . hailed Christie’s order to have the state Health Department immediately contact the dispensary operators to find out how soon they can open for business.

“I think it really answers all of the concerns that [Chafee] has had,” she said. “There’s no reason not to go ahead. We are less threatening because we only have three dispensaries.”

Bob Kerr has a somewhat more sophisticated take on these events in today’s Sunday Providence Journal in which he never once mentions balls, but come on we’re all thinking it. Maybe some Emerson will elevate the tone here — “Good men should not obey the law too well.”

Still . . . balls.


filed under: medical marijuana |

Would You Believe I Was Holding It For A Friend?

8AM ON 09/05/2011
BY Beth Comery

politifact meter Speaking of pants on fire, the needle is all the way in the red on the ProJo PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter for Republican State Rep. Robert Watson, recently stopped at a sobriety checkpoint in Connecticut and charged with driving under the influence and marijuana possession. Watson’s explanation that he kept the marijuana in case his pancreatitis flared up didn’t really pass the laugh test, but it’s great to have the experts weigh in.  Neither gastroenterologist Dr. Alyn Adrain of the Alpert School of Medicine at Brown, nor Dr. Vikesh Singh, director of the Pancreatitis Center at Johns Hopkins were aware of any studies evaluating the use of cannabis for treatment of chronic pancreatitis pain.

“I’ve never given it for chronic pain from pancreatitis and I don’t know anyone who has,” said Adrain.

“There is no reason to use marijuana for acute pancreatitis,” said Singh. “There are no studies evaluating the use of cannabis for the treatment of chronic pancreatitis pain.”

Journal staff writer C. Eugene Emery Jr. does a comprehensive investigation here. Great job. Also on the topic of medical marijuana in the Sunday paper was Edward Fitzpatrick’s excellent column “Feds might snuff out dispensaries”.  Thank you Providence Journal.


filed under: Health | medicine

Rally To Support Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

9AM ON 04/05/2011
BY Beth Comery

Rhode Island State House Show your support for medical marijuana (you may need it some day) and the newly licensed Compassion Centers by joining JoAnne Lepannen, executive director of RIPAC, in the State House Rotunda today, Wednesday May 4th, at 1pm. Recent news that U.S. Attorney Neronha intends to take action against the three licensed dispensaries when they open came as a shock to patients statewide (and I might add, the licensed proprietors who have already sunk quite a a bit of money into preparing these facilities). Speaking to the ProJo’s Zachary Malinowski Lepannen said,

. . .that she has been flooded with calls from many of the 3,459 patients in the program designed to help those with chronic pain and other medical maladies cope with the ailments.

“We are having much more of a depression problem,” she said. “We are talking about a population of people with very debilitating illness. People are losing hope. They just want to pull down the shades and give up.”

Medical Marijuana Rally, 1pm, Wednesday, State House Rotunda, Smith Street (directions)


filed under: Washington | medicine

U.S. Attorney Threatens To Prosecute R. I. Dispensaries

7PM ON 30/04/2011
BY Beth Comery

spine And this is why we just need to legalize it. In the mean time, we can’t allow the hard work done by so many advocates and legislators go down the drain, just when access to much-needed relief was on the way for patients who are sick and in pain. According to the ProJo, U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha has sent warnings to the three would-be proprietors of the medical marijuana dispensaries recently licensed by the state health department that he is concerned with the “scale and scope of the approved grows”. This after the Obama administration had suggested that his Justice Department would not be bothering with such actions.

Among the many parties caught off guard by the threat was JoAnne Lepannen executive director of Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC),

“It’s one of our worst nightmares,” she said. “It’s a complete misunderstanding of what medical marijuana centers are.”

She said she feels betrayed by the Obama administration, which announced in October 2009 that federal authorities would not interfere with state decisions to permit the distribution and use of medical marijuana.

Just how serious are these warnings? Megan Hall over at WRNI reports that two dispensaries in Spokane, Washington were raided last Thursday following similar letters.

Attention President Obama. How on earth did this rise to the top of your to-do list? Have we now closed the books on the Wall Street gangsters who brought the entire country to its knees? Is this what the Justice Department is doing to look busy? And a little side note regarding 2012 — as campaign strategies go, locking up potential, likely supporters has got to be the most perverse of all time. Come on Barry, call off your dogs.


filed under: Marijuana | medicine

Green Light For Three Compassion Centers

9PM ON 16/03/2011
BY Beth Comery

medical marijuana The Rhode Island Department of Health has selected the three applicants who will be authorized to manage the state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries where licensed patients will be able to purchase marijuana of a predictable quality in a safe environment. According to the Providence Journal,

The selections Tuesday were made from among 18 applicants which proposed dispensary operations of various sizes, mostly in the metropolitan area, to serve the state’s growing number of state-licensed medical marijuana users who now must either grow the marijuana themselves or connect with a licensed individual grower or caregiver.

Geography was one consideration. The three selected are; Summit Medical Compassion Center in Warwick, The Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence, and Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth. Let’s not forget the hard work performed over the years by the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC) and its founder Jesse Stout (now away at law school), who organized patients, testified before innumerable committees, educated the public, and pretty much willed these dispensaries into existence. He would insist on sharing the credit with those legislators who persevered and showed such political courage throughout — in particular bill sponsor Rhoda Perry, D-Providence, and the late Thomas C. Slater the Providence democrat for whom the bill (and one of the dispensaries) is named.


filed under: Health | Marijuana

Compassion Center Applications Hearing

11AM ON 25/01/2011
BY Daily Dose

RI DoH Director of RIPAC, JoAnne Lepanen, sends news regarding the upcoming Compassion Center application hearings,

The public is invited to comment on any or all of the Compassion Center applications on Monday, February 7 at 10am at the auditorium located at the Department of Health at 3 Capitol Hill, Providence. The Department requests that anyone who wishes to speak, also submit a copy of their comments in writing either before or at the time of the hearing.

The Health Department previously announced that it would reach a decision in early March as to which applicants will be issued licenses. We are hopeful that the Department will keep on schedule in spite of Dr. Gifford’s departure. Dr. Gifford has been the Director of the Health Department since the inception of the Medical Marijuana Program.

The Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition (RIPAC) is now located at 498 Kinsley Avenue.

10am, Monday, February 7, RI Department of Health, 3 Capitol Hill between Smith and Orms Streets, (directions)


filed under: Marijuana | Pawtucket

The ‘Toke Alone’ Club*

10AM ON 20/01/2011
BY Beth Comery

to kalon club Among the 18 recent applications for Compassion Center licenses, one is getting all the attention. More surprising even than the proposed location — the venerable To Kalon Club in Pawtucket which had been seeking a new owner — are the names of the license seekers. Megan Hall, who writes about health care at ‘The Pulse’ over at WNRI, has the complete story (More on Lynch’s Compassion Center group).

By now you probably know that Bill Lynch, the former chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party,  is among the 18 applicants hoping to  run the state’s  first medical  marijuana retail stores.  His group, called the “Rhode Island Center for Compassion and Wellness,” also includes retired Pawtucket Police Chief George Kelley and a former member of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission.

In plowing through the application paperwork, Hall found typos and misspellings — come on boys, both cops and potheads should know how to spell “ounce” —  and a provision for a $17,500 consulting fee to an editor of High Times magazine. It would appear that this plan is falling apart in several respects — the city of Pawtucket has not been consulted and is not enthused; the TK Club is negotiating with another party. To these problems I would add — do we really want patients trying to navigate the streets of Pawtucket? How compassionate would that be?

*Header courtesy of Ms. Hall who is a serious journalist over at a bona fide news-gathering organization where corny wordplay never makes it out of the coffee room. Then there’s us.


filed under: Good Ideas | Marijuana

Josh Miller Goes National With Progressive Marijuana Policies

4PM ON 20/04/2010
BY Beth Comery

Josh Miller — RI SenateJosh Miller — Senator for District 28, Cranston and Warwick and owner of the Hot Club, Trinity Brewhouse, Local 121 — is now writing to a national audience on the topic of marijuana decriminalization/legalization. Check out the CNBC blog for his thoughtful piece “Rhode Island’s Drive for Sensible Marijuana Laws” posted this morning, including this local update,

On April 13, the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee went where few states before it have gone, holding its first-ever hearing on a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol in the state. Taxing and regulating marijuana would be very different from decriminalizing it for one simple reason: under decriminalization laws, the sale of marijuana remains illegal. Taxing and regulating marijuana would remove the drug from the criminal market, allow state-licensed adults over 21 to cultivate up to three marijuana plants for personal use, make it legal for licensed merchants to sell to adults, and allow governments to make tax revenue from its sale.

If you live in Miller’s district, lucky you. If not, make sure your representatives know that you support Senator Miller’s efforts. (Keep up with his activities and read his newsletter at Josh Miller — State Senate.)


filed under: Health | Marijuana

RIPAC Community Meeting

10AM ON 10/11/2009
BY Daily Dose

medical marijuana All are welcome — the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition is holding a community meeting for patients, caregivers, advocates, and anyone else interested in learning more about medical marijuana. Whether for yourself or for someone in your care, this is an ideal opportunity to talk to others and learn about the medical marijuana program and news regarding the progress of the compassion centers. Executive Director, Stephen Hogan Jr., will provide updates and answers. Come exchange information and share experiences. For more info call 861.1601 or go to RIPAC.

Tuesday, 6:30pm to 8:00pm, Family Service RI, 55 Hope Street near Wickenden


filed under: Health | Marijuana

The Devil Is In The Details (Not The Medicine)

9AM ON 25/08/2009
BY Daily Dose

medical marijuana The Rhode Island Department of Health is holding a hearing today to discuss the proposed regulations concerning the establishment of the newly created ‘compassion centers’ (marijuana dispensaries). According the the Providence Journal, “Officials have released a draft version of the regulations regarding operation of such clinics and have scheduled ‘an informal community review meeting’ Tuesday, inviting the public to share its thoughts.”

At some point in the future applications will be made available for those interested in running the first dispensary and the department is still trying to figure this all out. They are to be commended. This is unfamiliar territory, and they have a little thing called the swine flu on their minds.

Compassion centers are to be operated as independent nonprofit entities overseen by boards or principal officers, to be regulated by the Health Department, much like a hospital or a nursing home. The state will not play a role in the day-to-day operations, but it will check to ensure that protocol is followed. . . Stephen Hogan, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, estimates that about 30 individuals have thus far signaled an interest in applying to open the first center. That group recently held an information session to help those interested learn more about the center. But it says it will not endorse any one applicant.

2pm, Tuesday, auditorium of the Cannon Building, 3 Capitol Hill, lower level


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