Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, advocates were working with lawmakers to push significant reforms to improve Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program and lower costs for patients. Now, with a serious economic downturn in the state, many patients are struggling with even greater financial hardships.
Due to public health concerns, the General Assembly has suspended its session, and it is unclear if or when legislators will reconvene. Under normal circumstances, the legislature would be holding public hearings and providing an opportunity to advocate for reforms at this time. This year, however, that may not be possible.
The Medical Marijuana Patients Coalition, led by two members of the medical marijuana legislative oversight committee, is coordinating with state regulators, compassion centers, and others involved in the medical marijuana program to find ways to help patients during these difficult times.
The group is circulating an anonymous survey for patient cardholders to gather information on how the COVID-19 situation is affecting them. The results will help identify which issues are impacting patients, which will guide advocacy efforts. If you are a medical cannabis patient, please consider responding to the survey. You can also help by sharing the survey with others on social media or forwarding them this email.
It’s encouraging to see patients finding ways to organize and help others despite the challenges caused by the pandemic.