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Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Law

The Rhode Island General Assembly passed the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act in 2006 despite the governor’s veto. The regulatory framework and patient protections for Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program were first developed after the legislation was passed.

The state amended the law frequently in order to add new qualifying medical conditions, open dispensaries, and establish safety regulations, so progress was gradual. A medical marijuana card is now freely available to any Rhode Islander with a recognized medical condition, giving them access to premium medical cannabis products.

While enrolling in this program can help you manage the incapacitating symptoms of your medical condition, it’s important to be aware of your rights and responsibilities. To learn more about how Rhode Island’s possession and consumption laws differ from those in other states like Massachusetts and Connecticut, continue reading.

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Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Law History

The Rhode Island Department of Health legalized the possession of medical marijuana for patients with recognized chronic and severe medical conditions after passing the Medical Marijuana Act in 2006. These ailments include, among others, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, persistent pain, hepatitis C, cachexia, and wasting syndrome.

Three licenses were given by the state to marijuana dispensaries (known as compassion centers) in 2009. The year of 2013 saw the start of medical marijuana sales.

In 2012, the state decriminalized the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana due to a government study on cannabis and successful outcomes from its medical program. The Medical Marijuana Act underwent its first significant revision in 2016, as state attitudes toward marijuana continued to change.

Lawmakers also gave patients the freedom to shop at any authorized dispensary, created a system for patients to name a caregiver who is authorized to buy marijuana on their behalf, and created an electronic database for tracking the status of medical marijuana patients.

In 2016 and 2018, lawmakers added PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions, as well as autism. In 2020, the state legalized cannabis for adult use, and recreational sales started in 2022.

Cannabis is subject to a 10% tax in the recreational program. Additionally, lawmakers removed the charges for home-grown plant tags and medical marijuana card application fees.

Marijuana Possession Laws in Rhode Island

Medical marijuana users and their primary caregivers are permitted to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in Rhode Island. Up to one ounce of recreational cannabis can be bought and owned by users for personal use. Residents of Rhode Island are permitted to keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana at home.

You can possess cannabis for personal use that you have purchased from an authorized dispensary or grown at home if you have an MMJ identification card.

Rhode Island Public Consumption Laws

Cannabis can currently be consumed legally anywhere cigarette smoking is permitted. However, due to federal law, smoking is prohibited anywhere on federal property, including courthouses, subsidized housing, and national parks.

The laws governing public consumption will probably change as a result of the recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use. The current legal framework gives localities the freedom to decide for themselves what rules and sanctions apply to cannabis use in public. For the most recent policy changes, check your local government’s website.

Rhode Island Cannabis DUI Laws

Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in Rhode Island. Holders of medical marijuana cards, however, are not automatically guilty of DUI based on the presence of THC in their bodies. Drivers may be stopped by law enforcement if they believe they are impaired.

For first offenses, there are several penalties available, including a $500 fine, 20 to 60 hours of community service, a year in jail, and a three to 18-month license suspension. With each subsequent offense, the minimum penalties increase, and third offenses result in mandatory imprisonment. Whenever possible, it’s best to operate motor vehicles before consuming cannabis.

Applying for a Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Card?

If you meet the criteria and have a qualifying medical condition, you can apply for a medical marijuana card in Rhode Island. You must first speak with a qualified doctor and get a written certification for cannabis, though.

You can use the Initial Registration packet to enroll in the state registry after the appointment. Documentation proving your identity and Rhode Island residency is required for applications. For people with autism and for minors, there are additional forms. You must mail the packet to the state once it is finished.

After processing, they will get in touch with you to arrange an ID photo session. To obtain your marijuana card at the photo appointment, you must bring a legitimate Rhode Island driver’s license. The processing of applications can take as little as five days. You must submit complete and accurate information to ensure prompt approval. Every document must be readable and clear.

You can receive assistance from The Sanctuary as you proceed, enabling you to put together the most effective application. In order to get your written certification, we will put you in touch with an experienced medical marijuana doctor. Our team is knowledgeable about the application procedure and up to date on the most recent laws.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Sales for recreation started on December 1st, 2022. You will be able to buy larger quantities of cannabis and won’t be subject to Rhode Island’s 10% cannabis tax if you have a medical card.

The state will probably amend the medical program to safeguard patient rights and guarantee priority access to cannabis as more information about recreational use comes to light.

Flowers, pre-rolls, concentrates, edibles, topical applications, tinctures, and vape products are all available for purchase and possession. To ensure availability, a number of Rhode Island dispensaries have products designated for medical marijuana patients.

Additionally, you can grow up to 12 plants annually with the proper tagging if you declare yourself a home cultivator when you apply for your medical marijuana card.

Patients and caregivers are prohibited from owning more than the legal limit of 10 ounces of cannabis, nor can they possess the medical marijuana of another patient.

Up to 2.5 ounces can be carried on your person, and 10 ounces can be kept in your house. A maximum of just one ounce can be carried by recreational users.

Yes. Any state’s legitimate medical marijuana cards are accepted in Rhode Island. When traveling, get in touch with the dispensary in advance to confirm its policies, opening times, and stock levels. Rhode Island laws and regulations, not those of your home state, will apply to your purchases.

Yes. In Rhode Island, becoming a patient is not subject to a background investigation. The National Criminal Information Center requires applicants for caregiver or authorized purchaser positions to submit to a background check at their local police station.

Many felonies, both drug-related and not, bar applicants from becoming caregivers or authorized buyers.