updated 6/16/2009 6:19:35 PM ET 2009-06-16T22:19:35

Rhode Island has become the third state in the nation to permit marijuana sales to chronically ill patients over the objections of Gov. Don Carcieri.

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Lawmakers in the General Assembly voted Tuesday to override a veto from the Republican governor.

The new law allows up to three nonprofit stores in the state to sell marijuana to patients registered with the state Department of Health. The drug remains illegal under federal law, but President Barack Obama's administration has said it will not target stores that comply with state law.

Rhode Island began allowing chronically ill patients to possess marijuana in 2006 but never created a legal means to buy the drug.

California and New Mexico are the other two states that allow medical marijuana sales.

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