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2012 News Releases

Statements from News Conference Participants (Regarding Restrictive Medical Marijuana Policy)

Posted: October 09, 2012|Category: Medical Marijuana

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JoAnne Leppanen, Executive Director, Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition: “Many patients who are applying to the Rhode Island medical marijuana program for the first time are experiencing a new hurdle that is delaying their admission to the program and forcing them to see more doctors and pay additional fees. Some patients and their caregivers who need to renew their licenses are in a panic as they scramble to form relationships with new physicians before their licenses expire and their legal protections evaporate. The patients who qualify for the medical marijuana program are among the sickest and most vulnerable of our citizens. Medical marijuana is vital medicine for their health. The Health Department's arbitrary and sudden reversal of policy has wreaked havoc on the health of some of our most fragile citizens.”

James Carney, Government Affairs and Reimbursement Coordinator, Rhode Island Academy of Physician Assistants: “The Rhode Island Academy of Physician Assistants is astounded that Dr. Fine has enacted this policy change. His action has created a barrier to access to care and an inconvenience for patients. Compounding this is the fact that this was done with a total disregard for the requirements provided for in the Administrative Procedures Act and other statutes.”

John W. Dineen, RI ACLU volunteer attorney: “The plaintiffs are not urging what the law should be. They rely on what the law already says. And the Department of Health agreed, for six years, until this abrupt change.”

Peter Nunes, Sr.: “It took over eight months for me to submit an application, then the health department denied me and other patients unfairly, after I followed all their procedures.”

Steven Brown, Executive Director, Rhode Island ACLU: “Time and again, the General Assembly has made clear its intent to have a strong and accessible medical marijuana program to ease the suffering of patients with debilitating illnesses. Unfortunately, time and again, as in this instance, the executive branch has consistently undermined that goal.”

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