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RI MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Watson says he used marijuana to self-treat medical condition

Posted by Matthew Marin | Apr 26, 2011 | 0 Comments

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By Katherine Gregg

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - In a deeply personal speech on the House floor about his arrest at a sobriety checkpoint in Connecticut last Friday night, House Minority Leader Robert A. Watson told colleagues Tuesday he has used marijuana to treat flare-ups of the pancreatitis that landed him in the hospital - and a five-day coma - last November.

He said he had taken a small amount of the drug with him when he went to Connecticut that day, to help a friend move, in case he was hit with another debilitating attack.

But, "I didn't smoke marijuana that day," he said, "because I didn't suffer a relapse."

But he also told colleagues that he is not legally authorized to use marijuana, under the state's medical marijuana program because Rhode Island "is a small state," and despite promises of confidentiality he feared his personal medical information would somehow leak out of the state Department of Health.

In his speech, Watson also raised questions about how he was treated by the police in East Haven, Conn., after they learned he was a legislator in Rhode Island. He denied having trouble standing, speaking or following commands, as suggested by the police report.

"I deny that I failed any of the sobriety tests," said Watson, saying he wished there had been cameras there.

He also disputed the "caricature" of him that was depicted in the police report, and said he will challenge that in a legal forum.

But he said he was also aware he will be judged in the court of public opinion.

Watson gave his speech after meeting privately with his fellow House Republicans, who later nodded their heads in assent as he said they had given him their vote of confidence to remain as minority leader.

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Matthew Marin

My name is Attorney Matthew Marin. I have dedicated my career to defending those charged with criminal offenses throughout Rhode Island. If you have been arrested or are under investigation for a criminal offense, we understand that are likely in an unfamiliar situation that can be extremely intimidating and even paralyzing. You may feel as if you do not know where to turn or who to ask for help. Fortunately, you have come to the right place to begin your search for answers and a successful resolution to your situation. We have extensive experience assisting thousands of clients facing drunk driving charges, domestic violence charges, and drug charges throughout Rhode Island.


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