Judge blocks Smithfield marijuana ordinance

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SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) – A judge on Wednesday blocked the town of Smithfield from enforcing an ordinance adopted to restrict medical marijuana.

Superior Court Judge Richard A. Licht granted the preliminary injunction in a 19-page decision. He said the plaintiffs “have a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits” and “will suffer irreparable harm” if the ordinance takes effect.

The town adopted the ordinance back in April, and described its purpose as “to regulate the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana.” Licht wrote, “Broadly speaking, the ordinance restricts who can grow marijuana, where and how it can be grown, and creates a licensing procedure for potential growers.”

The ACLU’s Rhode Island chapter hailed Licht’s decision.

“This decision confirms the legitimacy of Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program and, most importantly, the rights and protections it affords its participants,” C. Alexander Chiulli, a volunteer attorney for the ACLU, said in a statement. “It sends a strong message that municipalities statewide must respect those rights.”

The case is Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition Foundation, Jane Doe I, Jane Doe II v. Town of Smithfield.

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