Rhode Island Officials Reject Opioid Dependency as Qualifier for Medical Cannabis

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Health Department’s reasoning is that chronic pain is already covered.



The Rhode Island Department of Health has rejected a request to add opioid dependency to the list of conditions that qualify a patient for the state’s medical marijuana program. In a decision released last week, Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott wrote that chronic pain, the reason most opioids are prescribed to patients, is already a qualifying condition to use medical marijuana.

“As a result,” wrote Scott in her April 22 decision, the department “does not believe it is necessary to add OUD [opioid use disorder] as a qualifying condition.”

The B&B Medical Marijuana Evaluation Center requested earlier this year that the health department add opioid addiction to the state’s list of qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana. The center is the only facility authorized by the state of Rhode Island to issue medical cannabis recommendations, with locations in the cities of Warwick and Pawtucket.

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