R.I. approves medical use of marijuana

January 03, 2006

Associated Press, Boston Globe

Rhode Island became the 11th state yesterday to legalize medical marijuana and the first since the US Supreme Court ruled in June that patients who use the drug can still be prosecuted under federal law.

House lawmakers voted 59 to 13 to override a veto by Governor Don Carcieri, allowing people with illnesses such as cancer and AIDS to grow up to 12 marijuana plants or buy 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana to relieve their symptoms.

The law requires them to register with the state and get a photo identification card.

Federal law prohibits any use of marijuana, but Maine, Vermont, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington allow it to be grown and used for medicinal purposes.

The Supreme Court ruled on June 6 that people who smoke marijuana because their doctors recommend it can still be prosecuted under federal drug laws. US authorities say they were unlikely to prosecute many medicinal users.

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