Rhode Island legislators override governor's medical marijuana veto



The Rhode Island House of Representatives voted today to override Gov. Donald Carcieri's veto of a bill legalising medical marijuana.

The vote makes Rhode Island the 11th state to pass such a law, and the first to do so since Gonzales v. Raich, the June 6 Supreme Court decision that federal drug laws apply to medical marijuana users regardless of state or local exemptions.

Rhode Island legislators passed the bill on June 7, the following day. Carcieri vetoed the law, and the state Senate responded by voting the very next day to override. Tuesday's 59-13 pre-session House vote allows the law to take effect immediately.

Rhode Island's medical marijuana law is the third to be enacted by a state legislature, and the first that required override of a gubernatorial veto. A similar law is seen likely to pass in New Mexico, and two other states have introduced bills legalising marijuana for medical use.