Proposed bill would make medical marijuana more affordable, accessible for patients

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ While holding signs that read “patients first,” and, “return to compassion,” members of the Medical Marijuana Patients Coalition rallied at the State House, asking lawmakers for help.

“I honestly can’t take anything but cannabis. This is what’s keeping me alive,” Ellen Lenox-Smith said.

Lenox-Smith said she uses medical marijuana to treat her sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects her skin and joints.

That’s why she rallied at the State House Wednesday to support a bill that would make cannabis more affordable for low-income patients.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Scott Slater, would also lower the annual fee for compassion centers down to $5,000.

“It’s embarrassing to me to hear that we’re the only state in the entire country charging $500,000 yearly for a center to be open,” Lenox-Smith said.

During a House Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday, Rep. Anastasia Williams also introduced a bill that would make it illegal for past criminal misdemeanors and felonies for possession of marijuana be used against someone trying to enter the cannabis industry or any government assistance programs.

Slater said his bill, as well as the other proposed marijuana bills, would help ease the burdens placed on patient cardholders.

“If it’s truly a medicine, and it helps certain people, we should treat it as a medicine and we should get rid of the cost burdens that are around a lot of the patients in the program,” Slater said.



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