The owner of a string of medical marijuana clubs and former honored firefighter in Rhode Island has been arrested for allegedly violating the state’s laws regarding sales and distribution of the drug. According to Rhode Island State Police, the owner was arrested in mid-February for controlled substance conspiracy, multiple counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and possession with intent to deliver 1-5 kilograms of marijuana.
Also a regular user of marijuana for pain management, the owner opened Green Cross of Rhode Island in Warren back in 2015 and expanded his business to the Providence location in late 2016. According to him, his business connects patients in need of medical marijuana with registered growers that can provide the drug at a lower price than the state-run dispensaries, noting that the law in Rhode Island only allows growers to be reimbursed for actual expenses associated with growing costs.
The charges against the owner reportedly stem from an undercover law enforcement operation that found that he allegedly was not requiring his patrons to have a valid medical marijuana card when he sold marijuana to an undercover officer who had an expired card. In fact, police noted that the owner did not even ask to see the card until after the sale was made and when he saw that it was expired, the owner allegedly told him to have it updated before he returned.
What do you think? Should the owner have been arrested for his alleged actions?
A Front for Drug Trafficking?
Some think the law came down too hard on the owner of the dispensary, saying that he was giving someone the benefit of the doubt and that his intent wasn’t to sell the drugs illegally but to keep a customer happy. Others say that rules are in place for a reason, and that if he got caught doing it once, it’s likely he’s done it many times without getting caught. Some think it could essentially be a front for marijuana sales, both legal and illegal.
It gets complicated when it is noted that the owner is also a long-term user of marijuana as well. We know that an estimated 30 percent of people who use the drug regularly are living with a substance use disorder due to that drug use, and if that is the case for the owner, it is a relevant fact to the case. This is not to say that he should be excused for breaking the law, but rather than jailing him for his lack of judgment, it may be more effective to help him get treatment for his use of the drug, so he can get a handle on his personal use of the substance and stop allowing it to cloud his ability to make positive choices for his customers.
What Do You Think?
Do you think that the owner of the cannabis dispensary should face criminal penalties for his alleged choices in his shop? How do you think his own use of marijuana impacted his decisions and how he runs his business? If your loved one were in the same position, would you want them to get treatment?
The use of medical marijuana is often how someone begins using marijuana and develops a substance use disorder. The ownership of a medical marijuana card does not mean that all use in any amount is safe and healthy. If someone you love is struggling as a result of a marijuana abuse or addiction disorder, today can be the day you talk to them about their options in treatment.