In 2006, Rhode Island became the 11th state to legalize medical marijuana, largely in part to Rhode Island Representative Tom C. Slater who sponsored the RI Medical Marijuana Act and worked closely with RIPAC. Sadly, Rep. Slater passed away last week after fighting a six year battle with cancer.
I had the chance to meet Representative Slater and thank him for his hard work to bring about a very sensible drug policy to the place I call home – the Ocean State. He was a kind man that had many more accomplishments than just his work within the medical marijuana community. He was known as a “voice for the poor” and represented one of the states most in need districts.
Slater was also instrumental in the recent passage of legislation that will allow compassion centers in Rhode Island to provide sick patients with a safe and legal way to buy their medicine. From his website:
In recent years, his most prominent battle was for the right of chronically suffering patients in Rhode Island to legally and safely access medical marijuana. When the medical marijuana bill he’d sponsored for years finally passed over the governor’s veto in 2006, the General Assembly renamed it the “Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act” for him and the late nephew of its Senate sponsor. Despite his passionate advocacy over the nearly a decade and the cancer that had racked his body for years, it wasn’t until this summer that he finally applied to participate in the program he worked so hard to create. His advocacy for it was based not upon his own pain, but on the suffering he witnessed as his father, brother and uncle all succumbed to the same disease.
I’ve been told the C. in Thomas C. Slater stands for compassion. SSDP sends our condolences to his family during this difficult time.