After recently receiving an email from the state-licensed Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center promoting a sale on a certain type of marijuana product asking the question “Tired of the Winter Blues,” Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and the Ocean State Prevention Alliance have called for an end of promotional marketing and advertising of marijuana by compassion centers.
“Traditional pharmacies are prohibited from offering discounts on Scheduled drugs that have medicinal purposes. Can you imagine the public outcry if the local pharmacy started offering ‘half-off Oxycontin’ or other medicinal drugs? Compassion centers should be held to same standard and should be prohibited from offering discounts or sales on medicinal marijuana,” said Kilmartin. “I support the use of medical marijuana for its intended purposes. I support that medical marijuana be distributed through properly licensed and regulated facilities, but this type of advertising flies in the face of the intent and spirit of the law to provide medical relief. This advertisement only encourages people to rid themselves of the winter blues with the weekly special.”
Under the Medical Marijuana Act, compassion centers are primary caregivers who are registered to assist registered patients alleviate their debilitating condition or symptoms.
“We are in the top five states for teen marijuana use,” said Nancy DeNuccio, chairman of the Ocean State Prevention Alliance. “This kind of advertising clearly promotes that false perception that marijuana is a harmless recreation drug that can be used to cure the winter blues and, thereby, it increases the likelihood that yet another Rhode Island youth will think it’s okay to try it ‘just once.’ Because compassion center advertising is unregulated in RI, until it is, we urge compassion centers to keep kids in mind when they plan their advertising.”
This is not the first time the Thomas C. Slater compassion center offered discounts or free marijuana products through advertising. As part of its “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, the center offered free Rice Krispie treats with purchase, “buy an eighth and get a second eighth at half price,” among other promotions.