Rhode Island demand for medical marijuana skyrocketing

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While state lawmakers consider legalizing recreational pot this year, sales of medical marijuana continue to hit new highs.

The reason isn’t just that more people are ailing, state regulators say.

The state’s three medical marijuana dispensaries are on pace to sell about $56 million worth of medicinal pot in fiscal 2019, said Norman Birenbaum, the state’s top marijuana regulator. That’s $17.8 million, or 46.6 percent, more than in fiscal year 2018.

And that year itself was record-breaking, with $38.2 million worth of pot sold, a third more than in fiscal 2017.

The list of qualifying conditions to enter the medical marijuana program is fairly short but also broad, like severe pain or muscle spasms. And some doctors, particularly a few over the border in Seekonk, have been willing to write medicinal pot recommendations for a large segment of Rhode Island’s 18,200 registered patients with few questions asked, Birenbaum said.

It’s “pay to play right over the state line,” he said. “We recognize there are ways for people to abuse the program.” [Read more at Providence Journal]