Rhode Island’s Republican gubernatorial nominee suggested that an opponent should smoke marijuana to relax amidst a combative debate performance on Thursday night.
“Someone needs to get a joint for Joe to get him to calm down a bit,” GOP candidate Allan Fung said, referring to feisty independent contender Joe Trillo.
“You probably smoke it all the time,” shot back Trillo, a former state lawmaker.
“I think we made the news cuts for tomorrow,” debate moderator Gene Valicenti of NBC 10 quipped in response to the joint-smoking sniping between the candidates.
On a more serious note, Fung, the mayor of Cranston, said that he is “open to legalization so long as the enforcement concerns” are addressed.
“I’d even go so far as to put it on the ballot.”
Trillo had said he could only consider supporting legalization when better roadside impairment detection methods are developed, adding in that case he would also put the question on the ballot for voters to decide.
For her part, incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said during the exchange that she is “open to” legalization but is “cautious” about it. She is concerned it is “hard to regulate so it doesn’t get into the hands of kids.”
Moderate Party candidate Bill Gilbert said he supports legalizing cannabis.
The exchange comes as a new Marijuana Moment analysis published Thursday shows that more than 20 major party gubernatorial candidates in the U.S. support legalizing marijuana, with many more supporting other cannabis reforms.
See Rhode Island gubernatorial candidates debate marijuana, at 38:30 into this video:
See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:
GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Tells Opponent To Smoke Marijuana During Debate
Patients who register with their state’s medical cannabis program typically become, literally, card carrying members. What many do not realize is that some states recognize the registrations of those from outside areas, something that is called reciprocity. While most states do not recognize out-of-state medical cannabis exemptions or qualifications, a few do. Of these, there are important differences of which millions of traveling patients should be aware.
The medical cannabis laws of most states do not allow reciprocity for one simple reason: It invites scrutiny by federal authorities, specifically those in the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA. The Justice Department is home to the DEA and exercises oversight for interstate commerce. It therefore has a vested concern to ensure that diversion (legal cannabis being delivered to illegal recipients) and other fraudulent activity is not involved. The issue becomes only more complex based on the fact that medical, and even recreational, cannabis is legal in some states, but all forms of cannabis are illegal at the federal level.
The federal government categorizes cannabis as Schedule I, meaning it is officially as “dangerous and addictive” as heroin and bath salts. In fact, both cocaine and methamphetamines, two truly addictive drugs that nearly any medical professional will testify are more dangerous than cannabis, both reside in less-restrictive Schedule II; they can even be prescribed by a physician.
Possession vs. Purchase
Four states with medical cannabis laws on the books allow visitors to legally possess and consume cannabis (within limits), but do not provide safe access via dispensaries to the medicine or related products (like concentrates, edibles, tinctures, and topicals).
States allowing registered patients from out-of-state to possess cannabis include:
- New Hampshire: Visiting patients are permitted to possess and consume cannabis, but cannot purchase or grow the herb.
- Arizona: Card-carrying patients from other states are permitted to possess and use cannabis, but not purchase it.
- Michigan: Visiting patients may possess and use. If driving with cannabis, the herb must be stored in a case in a locked trunk of the vehicle.
- Rhode Island: Like similar states, visiting qualifying patients may use and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, but cannot purchase from dispensaries in the state.
There are three states that practice full reciprocity and will legally allow, under certain circumstances, out-of-state patients to make purchases at licensed dispensaries. This is a way for those suffering a debilitating disease or condition, especially those who must medicate daily, to obtain medicine when they are traveling. It is not recommended that patients attempt to carry cannabis through an airport or on a flight. While many are successful, the legal ramifications in some states — or from federal authorities — simply are not worth the risk for the average patient.
It is legal for any patient possessing a valid medical cannabis card, from any state, to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis products at Nevada dispensaries. In fact, because reciprocity is practiced by so few states in the U.S., Nevada may become a destination for patients in other states who wish to vacation or meet business clients, but don’t desire to — or simply can’t — go without their medicine for the duration of their travel.
In Nevada, reciprocity is fairly straightforward. At their first dispensary visit, patients from out-of-state are asked to sign an affidavit testifying that they are currently a valid patient in another state. In addition, traveling patients are restricted to that initial dispensary for one month. Because most travelers, especially those vacationing in Las Vegas, will be staying a considerably shorter period of time than a month (a two to seven day span is more common), they are limited to a single dispensary for that particular trip. Las Vegas is significant, especially considering that 40 million people travel there each year (that’s the entire population of California, the most populous state in the nation).
Thus, patients visiting Las Vegas or Reno should be careful when selecting their initial dispensary. If their next trip to the Silver State is more than 30 days in the future, they will then be able to shop at the dispensary of their choice. Some have pondered if Nevada will pass recreational legalization via a ballot initiative in November 2016. If it does, Las Vegas could become the Amsterdam of the United States, being America’s legal adult playground for more than merely gambling and big-dollar magic acts.
The fact that Nevada is risking federal scrutiny to do what is best for patients is both relatively novel among states that have enacted medical cannabis laws, but also within the theme of Nevada’s tourism. If there are three states that understand the economic and cultural benefits of a robust tourism industry, it is Nevada, Colorado, and California. This spirit is finally being expressed within state laws affecting medical cannabis patients.
In Hawaii, patients from the mainland must simply register with the state. None of the details of this program are available, however, due to the fact that it will not go into effect until January 1, 2018. Patients traveling to this classic vacation destination of perfect temperatures and gorgeous beaches must remain patient for their opportunity to spend a few days in paradise while also remaining medicated to reduce or eliminate pain and nausea or deliver relief from inflammation-based diseases such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and even cancer.
Maine requires that the recommending physician of visiting patients submit a form that testifies to the patient’s condition and eligibility in their home state. Visiting patients may designate a caregiver or dispensary in Maine, but not both. Surprisingly — in what seems to be an effort to accommodate those who relocate to Maine, not just visitors or vacationers — patients can have their doctor petition for their right to cultivate up to six mature plants.
Thus, patients who qualify for their home state’s medical cannabis program may visit or move to Maine and immediately request, via their recommending doctor, legal permission to consume and even cultivate cannabis.
Federal legality would eliminate the need for states to practice reciprocity in their recognition of registered medical cannabis patients from fellow states. However, this isn’t something that is on the political horizon in Washington, D.C. and a popular topic in Congress. Until true progress is made on Capitol Hill, patients will have to rely upon the handful of states that officially recognize the programs of those outside their own borders.
Earlier this month, marijuana law reform measures were approved by voters in Oregon, Alaska, Washington D.C., several municipalities in Michigan, one city in Maine, and even the U.S. territory of Guam. Pro-marijuana advocates have announced plans to push for legalization to appear on ballots in many more states in 2016. Advocates in Rhode Island have decided not to wait that long, and will be pushing for legalization in 2015.
The pro-marijuana association known as Regulate Rhode Island, comprised of state residents and organizations, is working to end marijuana prohibition and the failed war on drugs in their state. The organization supports regulating and taxing legal marijuana in the same manner as alcohol, just as Colorado and Washington do already, and Oregon and Alaska will soon enough. Medical marijuana is already legal in the state of Rhode Island, but an attempt to legalize, regulate and tax recreational cannabis, lead by state representatives Edith Ajello and Joshua Miller, failed in 2014. Now, Regulate Rhode Island is already working to make a push in the state legislature next spring.
The initiative has already earned public support from retired Rhode Island police officer, Elizabeth Comery, as well as the support of Dr. James Crowley, practicing physician and former president of the Rhode Island Medical Society.
Retired officer, Elizabeth A. Comery, told the Providence Journal,
“I am part of the Regulate Rhode Island Coalition because when I worked for the Providence Police Department, I saw first-hand how destructive and ineffective our punitive marijuana laws are. Like alcohol prohibition, marijuana prohibition has not stopped Americans from using the substance. It would be much better from a public safety perspective to regulate marijuana and have it sold by responsible business owners who must operate within the law.’’
Dr. James Crowley, also shared his opinion on the matter with the Providence Journal, explaining,
“Health professional increasingly support regulating cannabis because they have seen after more than four decades that prohibition does not promote public health. Regulation is far better than prohibition because it allows the state to ensure that cannabis is produced under safe and sanitary conditions and labeled with information about potency.”
To gain voter support in the state, Regulate Rhode Island is hosting an educational forum on November 18 to discuss the marijuana legalization proposal, and answer questions about the benefits that will come from regulating and taxing cannabis similarly to alcohol.
Another method the initiative is using to gain support and educate voters is photographing members of the organization holding signs stating why they personally support the movement. Many of these members wrote they support ending the war on marijuana because of the fact that black people are, on average, almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people. This information about the disgusting racial disparity among marijuana arrests in the United States was revealed by a study published by the American Civil Liberties Union.
photo credit: Regulate Rhode Island Facebook