5 Years Later, Marijuana Oversight Committee Failed to be Appointed by Legislature

Saturday, September 26, 2015

 

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In what looks like another regulatory failure in Rhode Island, the Marijuana Oversight Commission that was required as part of the legislation that legalized medical marijuana has never been appointed in five years.

The Oversight Commission was created in the legislation in order to protect patients and to evaluate physician involvement as well as other responsibilities. 

As part of GoLocal's investigation, the Commission has never been appointed and now concerns about the programs are mounting.

Lack of Oversight Comes into Focus

Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello's office blames Gordon Fox, his predecessor.  Today, Fox is serving three years in federal prison.

"After your phone call, our legal counsel did some research.  Several years ago, before Speaker Mattiello was in charge, the medical marijuana law passed and it included a provision for the General Assembly to appoint a nine-member oversight committee, said Larry Berman, the Speaker's spokesperson. 

"Apparently this was never done.  I informed Speaker Mattiello today and he said he will address the issue in the new session which begins in January," continued Berman.

Rhode Island's Department of Health also failed to realize that the key part of the regulatory structure was created. 

"The Department of Health doesn’t have any direct involvement with the oversight committee. The legislation calls for the general assembly to convene the committee, and specifies who sits on the committee," said Joseph Wendelken, Acting Public Information Officer at the RI Department of Health.

See the provision of the state law below.  

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Legislative oversight committee.  

(1) The general assembly shall appoint a nine (9) member oversight committee comprised of:

one member of the house of representatives;

one member of the senate;

one physician to be selected from a list provided by the Rhode Island medical society;

one nurse to be selected from a list provided by the Rhode Island state nurses association;

two (2) registered qualifying patients;

one registered primary caregiver;

one patient advocate to be selected from a list provided by the Rhode Island patient advocacy coalition;

and one representative of the law enforcement community. 

(2) The oversight committee shall meet at least six (6) times per year for the purpose of 4 evaluating and making recommendations to the general assembly regarding: (i) Patients' access to medical marijuana;

(ii) Efficacy of compassion center;

(iii) Physician participation in the Medical Marijuana Program;

(iv) The definition of qualifying medical condition;

(v) Research studies regarding health effects of medical marijuana for patients.

(3) On or before January 1 of every even numbered year, the oversight committee shall 11 report to the general assembly on its findings.

 

Related Slideshow: The Highest Marijuana Prices in 2015 in New England by State

Forbes.com recently released a graphic that looks at how much an ounce of marijuana costs in every state in America, as well as the District of Columbia. The national average is $324.

Below is a look at where New England states fall in the rankings, as well as where marijuana is the most expensive and least expensive nationally. 

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#6 Maine

$305

The Pine Tree State is 19 dollars below the national average. 

That is the 38th highest in the country. 

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#5 Rhode Island

$314

The Ocean State is 10 dollars below the national average. 

That is tied for 36th highest in the country. 

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#4 Connecticut

$334

The Constitution State falls 10 dollars above the national average.

That's the 30th highest in the country. 

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#3 Massachusetts

$342

The Bay State is 18 dollars above the national average. 

That is tied for 22nd highest in the country. 

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#2 New Hampshire

$351

The Granite State is 27 dollars above the national average.

That is tied for 12th highest in the country. 

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#1 Vermont

$367

The Green Mountain State is 43 dollars above the national average. 

That is the 2nd highest in the country. 

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U.S Lowest: Orgeon

$204

The Beaver State falls 220 dollars below the national average. 

It is one of four states where marijuana for recreational use is legalized and is home to the lowest price in the nation. 

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U.S. Highest: N. Dakota

$387

The Peace Garden State is 67 dollars above the national average. 

Its price is the highest in the country by 20 dollars. 

 
 

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