Corvese to file bill making medical marijuana providers’ identities public information
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Arthur Corvese is preparing to file legislation to make public the names of all providers of medical marijuana licensed in Rhode Island.
The legislation is aimed at improving transparency, and allowing neighborhoods to know whether marijuana is being produced nearby, or whether someone producing it is doing so legally under the auspices of the medical marijuana program.
“The list of other providers who are licensed by the state, from pharmacies to something as innocuous as barbers and hairdressers, is a matter of public record. But our current medical marijuana law doesn’t provide the same transparency for medical marijuana providers, even though there is significant potential for illegal use of the product they are providing. If we are going to legally recognize marijuana as a medicine, we should subject its distribution to the same standards as other medicinal substances and allow the public to know who is licensed as a medical marijuana provider,” said Representative Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence).
As of October, 2,820 individuals were licensed as caregivers under Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program. Each can legally grow and provide marijuana to up to five patients, and may hold up to as many as 24 mature marijuana plants and five ounces of usable marijuana total for his or her patients.
While that amount has, up to now, allowed caregivers to sell excess to the state’s three licensed compassion centers, it has also wound up on the black market, which recently led to emergency regulations that ban caregivers from selling to dispensaries and instead create a new class of “cultivators” who can supply dispensaries.
The black market links, however, concern Representative Corvese, who said he has tried to get information on licensed caregivers from the Department of Health, but was denied.
“It’s often apparent to the neighbors when someone is selling drugs illegally. Allowing the public to know who is a legitimate caregiver and who is not can be helpful in getting people to report those who are just street-level illegal drug dealers as well as caregivers who are abusing the program and fueling drug abuse in their neighborhoods,” said Representative Corvese. “There’s no legitimate reason this information should be kept secret from the public, when providers of other drugs are disclosed.”
Representative Corvese is currently working with legislative staff to draft the bill, which he intends to introduce in the new legislative session that begins in January.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903