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Proponents Claim Eliminating 'Caregivers' Would Create Stronger Medical Marijuana Regulation

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A bill that would eliminate caregivers from the state’s medical marijuana program continues to stir up controversy. But a lobbyist behind the bill says...

A bill that would eliminate caregivers from the state’s medical marijuana program continues to stir up controversy. But a lobbyist behind the bill says his client simply wants more regulation of the medical marijuana industry.

So-called caregivers are allowed to grow a small number of medical marijuana plants for a few patients. They’ve launched a campaign to discredit a bill that would replace caregivers with two growing and distribution centers. Lobbyist Peter Petrarca denies claims the bill would only benefit his client, Rhode Island Growers and Distributors LLC.

“I don’t understand where all this witch talk is coming from. Because all we’re simply trying to do is regulate an industry,” said Petrarca.

His client, Rhode Island Growers and Distributors, wants to establish a facility to cultivate and distribute medical marijuana that would be more tightly regulated.

“We’re not looking to destroy anyone. But we’re looking to have everyone come to the table and realize what’s going on with medical marijuana, and where it’s going, and what’s going to have to happen. It’s going to have to be regulated exactly like alcohol,” said Petrarca.

Proponents of caregivers in the state’s medical marijuana program say they’re essential for supplying patients who can’t travel or can’t afford what’s sold at compassion centers.

He said caregivers are not regulated, but the distributors would be. He says his client has experience and is prepared to build a safe operation. His client is a new company registered to real estate agent Douglas DeSimone. He could not be reached for comment.

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Proponents Claim Eliminating 'Caregivers' Would Create Stronger Medical Marijuana Regulation
Proponents Claim Eliminating 'Caregivers' Would Create Stronger Medical Marijuana Regulation