Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 announced today that he is putting the brakes on efforts to open three medical marijuana compassion centers in Rhode Island. The move comes after U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha, the state’s top federal prosecutor, sent Chafee a letter Friday stating that the law establishing the medical marijuana dispensaries violates federal law and that the Department of Justice could prosecute those associated with the centers if they open. The centers, which would have been able to sell medical marijuana on a larger scale than is possible under the current system, were slated to open this summer.
This isn’t the first setback for compassion centers in Rhode Island. In the first round of applications to open compassion centers last year, the state’s Department of Health denied all of the applicants. On March 15, the department approved the three centers in a second round review of applications.