Meara quoted in Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly cover story on Smithfield medical marijuana case

October 26, 2017

Barton Gilman attorney John D. Meara was recently quoted in the article, “Marijuana cultivation ordinance enjoined, putting towns on notice,” in Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly. The article takes an in-depth look at the recent decision, by Judge Richard Licht, Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition Foundation, et al. v. Town of Smithfield.

Meara, along with attorney C. Alexander Chiulli, represented the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island in the case, obtaining a preliminary injunction preventing the town of Smithfield, Rhode Island from enforcing an amendment to its zoning ordinance restricting the cultivation of medical marijuana. Smithfield passed the law in April, 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 has received extensive media coverage in the state and beyond. In the article, Meara notes that, “the decision ‘speaks loudly’ that any ordinance infringing on the rights of individual patients and caregivers is preempted by the Hawkins-Slater Act.”

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