The U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island has warned property owners that taking on tenants in the marijuana industry can result in facing forfeiture proceedings.
In a move echoing that of U.S. Attorneys in California and Colorado, Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha has warned would-be landlords of dispensaries that the Department of Justice is watching, and will send letters of forfeiture if need be.
Neronha's office reconfirmed that no one intends on prosecuting sick patients, but rather, the large-scale marijuana operations.
According to spokesman Jim Martin, Neronha sent letters this week to current dispensary landlords, warning that, according to Boston.com, landlords "could face civil or criminal sanctions, including the seizure of assets or property."
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee says that he is in favor of legislation that he feels would avoid federal attention by limiting the amount of marijuana that a dispensary can distribute. Chafee has blocked three state-selected dispensaries in 2011 after Neronha put similar pressure on the state.
Right now, there are no dispensaries open in Rhode Island; patients can possess up to 12 marijuana plants or 2.5 ounces of cultivated marijuana, and caregivers can possess up to 24 marijuana plants and five ounces of usable marijuana for their qualifying patients. Caregivers are linked to patients through the Rhode Island Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program.
There are currently 4,400 registered medical marijuana patients in Rhode Island.