'Compassion Centers' Sought For Medical Marijuana

02/16/10 6:06AM

A bill to set up so-called "compassion centers" for the nearly 200 Vermonters enrolled in the state's medical-marijuana registry is on a legislative committee's docket this week.

Vermont lawmakers passed a bill in 2004 legalizing the use of medical marijuana for eligible patients. Now, they are considering going a step further and establishing nonprofit dispensaries for medical marijuana. It's unclear whether pharmacies, nonprofits or even liquor stores would make the best medical-marijuana outlets.

Republican Rep. Joe Baker of West Rutland is sponsoring the bill. He tells the Times Argus he's never smoked marijuana. But after watching his wife succumb to cancer five years ago, Baker says he understands the pain and suffering that lack of access to a pain-easing drug can cause.

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