Chiulli and Meara obtain favorable decision in Smithfield medical marijuana case 

PROVIDENCE (September 29, 2017) – On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, Barton Gilman attorneys C. Alexander Chiulli and John D. Meara obtained a preliminary injunction that prevents the town of Smithfield, Rhode Island from enforcing an amendment to its zoning ordinance restricting the cultivation of medical marijuana.

In April, Smithfield passed a law limiting the number of plants a licensed patient can have to two, while under state law, growers are allowed to have twelve plants.  The law further eliminated a registered caregiver’s ability to cultivate on behalf of patients. The Rhode Island ACLU filed a lawsuit in June, arguing that the town’s ordinance infringes on patients' rights as guaranteed by state law.

The decision, by Judge Richard Licht, has received extensive media coverage in the state and beyond, with news stories featuring Chiulli and Meara on WPRI12, ABC6, TurntoTen10, as well as coverage in The Providence Journal, Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly, U.S. News & World Report, and others.

Chiulli is quoted noting that, “[T]his decision confirms the legitimacy of Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program and, most importantly, the rights and protections it affords its participants. It sends a strong message that municipalities statewide must respect those rights.”

C. Alexander Chiulli regularly appears before state and federal courts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts on wide-ranging civil, criminal, appellate, administrative, and domestic matters, including intellectual property, Internet law, privacy and information law, entrepreneurship, and First Amendment issues. He frequently presents and is published in articles covering issues related to emerging and small business owners. Chiulli has been named a New England Super Lawyer Rising Star and is on the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Rhode Island Center for the Book, and the Justinian Law Society.

John D. Meara has well-established experience in all stages of litigation in the areas of insurance defense, professional liability, education, appellate litigation, regulatory matters, personal injury, admiralty, property damage and environmental liability. He also has significant experience in utilizing alternative dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration and mediation, to successfully defend and resolve cases. In addition to his litigation background, Meara has also provided a higher-education institution with assistance in the areas of regulatory compliance, and risk assessment and avoidance. He has been named a New England Super Lawyer Rising Star and is on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of Rhode Island, Greater Providence, and serves as Co-Chair of the Young Lawyer Division for Defense Counsel of Rhode Island. 

About Barton Gilman

Barton Gilman is a leading civil litigation law firm with offices in Boston, Providence and New York. Our experienced attorneys represent a variety of clients in a wide range of matters, and our trial attorneys appear regularly in the federal and state courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, as well as before various administrative agencies. Barton Gilman and its attorneys have received numerous awards and accolades, including Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms, Best Places to Work Rhode Island, Outstanding Philanthropic Business, and Super Lawyers, to name just a few. For more information, visit