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Court decision on town's medical marijuana ordinance yet to be made

Smithfield wants to enact a medical marijuana ordinance that is stricter than state law. (MGN)

While a Superior Court judge was expected to rule Monday on whether a Rhode Island town can create its own medical marijuana ordinance that is stricter than state law, a written decision is yet to be made.

The town of Smithfield wants to limit the amount of marijuana a patient or caregiver is allowed to grow to significantly less than what's allowed under state law.

Under the state law, a licensed grower is allowed to have 12 plants. But the town ordinance would limit a grower to just two plants.

The Town Council says it's an effort to prevent excessive marijuana sale, but patient advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union disagree.

"It's the city (sic) assuming the role of physician and usurping the authority the state statute gives the Department of Business Regulation and Department of Health, and reaching into the medicine cabinets of the citizens of Smithfield and preventing them from using medical marijuana in line with the state statute," ACLU attorney John Meara said in August.

Patient advocates said the ordinance would be detrimental to those who need marijuana for health reasons.

"It's an important medicine for them. What this does, it takes away their right to grow the plants that they need. It takes away their caregivers. And by what right?" said patient advocate JoAnne Leppanen.

NBC 10 News has been unable to reach the Town Council president for comment.

The decision is expected within a few days.

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