I am concerned with proposed legislation change to the MMP program here in RI proposed by Rep Corvese. As an advocate of the program and provider of services to the community it concerns me that Rep Corvese wants to make public the names of all caregivers in RI on several reasons. First of all the caregiver/patient relationship is still protected by HIPPA regulations and remains confidential. Exposing caregivers locations to the public makes them a target for criminals. Most of these individual caregivers do not have the funds necessary to provide for added security measures and preferably try to keep their business private. Many of them are likely to be growing cannabis at their residence for a family member or loved one that is ill. Subjecting them to criminal behavior is a liability to the state at best. Rep Corvese's concerns would be better served by concentrating on the actual distribution centers and the new regulations issued by the DBR. Caregivers are certainly not "distributors" and are allowed to care for a maximum of 5 patients, 5 people does not equal distribution. Many caregivers throughout the state have professional careers and do not want the stigma that 70 years of prohibition and "reefer madness" has created.. The concerns of neighbors are not taken lightly by legitimate caregivers and many attempt measures to limit the the impact of their growing operations on the public for obvious reasons.
As a patient, caregiver and patient advocate for many years, I believe this bill has good intent, but negative effects for our community. Instead, a registry of caregivers that is made available to law enforcement only would allow them to concentrate on criminal activity without exposing the individual medical grower to danger. Legitimate growers following the law should have no qualms about such a registry. As our country accepts the use of cannabis more and more, and even our neighbors in Mass allow for its legal recreational use, RI attempts to "subject it distribution" with more regulation. As the economy struggles why not embrace the cannabis culture and make it our own? Why not allow our universities to study it's medicinal qualities? Why not put our citizens back to work supporting it's industry? While RI was first to acknowledge religious freedom, the first in the industrial revolution, our ignorance allows another opportunity to reduce our tax burden and greater our quality of life pass away. Our organization Green Cross of RI allows for caregivers and patients to meet in a comfortable, safe environment. We offer educational courses, including a very popular grow class and many other services to the MMP community.
Green Cross of Rhode Island