On May 24th, a pair of identical bills, Rhode Island Senate Bill 2430 and Rhode Island House Bill 7593, otherwise known as the The Rhode Island Cannabis Bill passed adult use legalization of marijuana. Governor Daniel McKee signed the bill into law the following day. Adult use sales will start on December 1, 2022.
The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act was passed in 2006, allowing medical marijuana to patients in need.
Adults twenty-one (21) years and older may possess up to one (1) ounce of cannabis. While in your home, you may possess up to ten (10) ounces. As far as concentrates go, you will be maxed at up to five (5) grams to be in your possession. You are allowed to gift up to one (1) ounce of cannabis.
Medical Marijuana patients may possess up to two and a half (2.5) ounces on them at a time. At this time there is not a limit on concentrates and all products fall under a blanketed label of “marijuana”.
The state of Rhode Island will automatically expunge prior cannabis misdemeanors or felony possession convictions. Those who petition the court for relief will have their cases expedited.
With the passing of The Rhode Island Cannabis Bill, possession of more than one (1) ounce but up to two (2) ounces for adults eighteen (18) and older would be decriminalized, with people facing a civil penalty without the threat of jail time.
Within the Rhode Island General Law § 21-28.5-2, in 2015, The manufacture, sale, delivery, or possession with the intent to sell or deliver, of paraphernalia is punishable by a fine not exceeding $500 dollars and up to two (2) years imprisonment.
Any person eighteen (18) years of age or over who delivers drug paraphernalia to a person under eighteen (18) years of age shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $5,000 thousand dollars and imprisonment not to exceed five (5) years.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.4.01 states that possession while driving will result in a driver’s license suspension for a period of six (6) months. Every offense after the first can result in a loss of license one year.
So what are adult purchasing limits? Rhode Island is permitting adults twenty-one (21) and older to purchase one (1) ounce of cannabis at a recreational dispensary. Out of your ounce allotment, five (5) of those grams can be in the form of concentrates like wax, shatter, and rosin.
Medical Marijuana patients are capped at two and a half (2.5) ounces that they can purchase at Compassions Centers (Medical Marijuana dispensaries). At this moment, this can be a mix of products whether that be concentrates, topicals, edibles, and flower.
Regulators will be set with a new task soon for setting limits on:
“cannabis product serving sizes, doses, and potency, including, but not limited to, regulations which provide requirements for reasonable tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) potency limits for each type of cannabis product sold by a licensee and reasonable potency or dosing limits for cannabis concentrates and edible products, that shall apply for adult use cannabis only.”
Medical Marijuana is taxed seven percent (7%). Recreational dispensaries will be subject to the state’s seven (7%) sales tax, a ten (10%) percent excise tax, and a local three (3%) tax for municipalities that allow cannabis businesses to operate. Where to Buy
Medical Marijuana dispensaries can be open as early as 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at night. Check out the dispensaries near you first and see what’s open!
Different municipalities can set their own hours if they so see fit by their city council.
For example, the town of Centre Falls came to an agreement with their city hall to set hours on their first dispensary named Pinnacle Compassion Center. This dispensary will be able to operate Monday through Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday’s hours will be set to 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. They will be closed on Sundays. It will open as a Medical Marijuana dispensary, but can switch to a recreational dispensary if they pay their $500,000 annual licensing fee.
Some municipalities can even opt out of opening marijuana stores with votes on their ballot referendums. However, if there are already compassion centers in the jurisdiction, that will be void and retail stores can expand.
Under the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Act (pdf), in-state residents can qualify by having one or more of the following medical conditions:
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or treatment for AIDS
- Agitation related to Alzheimer’s Disease
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (added as a qualifying condition in 2018)
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Cancer or cancer treatment including chemotherapy, radiation, etc.
- Crohn’s disease
- Glaucoma or glaucoma treatment
- Hepatitis C or treatment for Hepatitis C
- Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or treatment for HIV
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)*
- Severe, debilitating, chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of Multiple sclerosis (MS)
*PTSD only qualifies for patients 18 years of age or older. All other conditions can apply to any applicant.
It is illegal to smoke cannabis marijuana in public in the state of Rhode Island.
Cannabis can only be consumed in a private residence away from the public view. You can only consume on the premises if allowed by your landlord.
If you’re a tourist, check out 420-friendly hotels, Airbnb’s, etc. before you visit otherwise use your best discretion! Smoking in public can end up with a ticket or a fine.
Medical cannabis consumption is only legally allowed in private residences or locations.
The state prohibits medical cannabis consumption of any kind in the following:
- School buses
- Public transportation
- School grounds
- Correctional facilities
- Public places
- Licensed treatment facilities
- In the presence of children where they could face adverse effects
Driving Under the Influence
Under section 8.1.3 (pdf) of the act's scope, Rhode Island does not permit patients to operate any motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat while under the influence of medicinal marijuana. Yet, a patient will not immediately be considered under the influence if cannabis is found in their system.
The state of Rhode Island has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to marijuana and driving. If there is any trace of THC in a blood or urine test, the motorists will be arrested for a marijuana DUI or “drugged driving” due to the law R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-27-2. It is also illegal to possess marijuana while operating a vehicle.
Exceptions only pertain to medical marijuana patients that are legally registered to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. The court cannot prosecute you for medical marijuana in your car either.
Policemen have the right to order a sample to look for traces of marijuana if the officer has reason to believe the driver may be impaired. Unfortunately, THC stays in your system a lot longer if you use it regularly compared to consumers that smoke on occasion. THC is also fat soluble, so the amount of time it takes to leave the body can vary drastically from one person to another depending on your body fat. Your THC metabolic level is dependent on your age and even gender.
Consequences of Refusal or Conviction of Marijuana DUI
Any recreational consumer who refuses a chemical test will result in a fine ranging from two hundred ($200) dollars to five hundred ($500) dollars, ten (10) to sixty (60) hours of community service and suspension of your driver’s license for up to six (6) months to one (1) year. The penalties do increase with multiple offenses. You will be charged with a refusal for the record.
If an adult consumer (without a medical marijuana card) takes a test and fails, the first time offense can carry up to a five hundred ($500) dollars fine, twenty (20) to sixty (60) hours of community service, one year of jail time, and a suspended driver’s license for three (3) to eighteen (18) months. You may also have to take a “Driving Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance” class.
Second time offenders of a marijuana DUI could face up to a one thousand ($1,000) dollar fine, six (6) months to one (1) year of jail time, and suspended driver’s license for up to two (2) years after your prison sentence.
When taking cannabis home with you, be sure to have the products in their original packaging, un-opened, and in a locked compartment like the truck or lockable glove compartment. You may only drive with your legal limit.
It is illegal to have cannabis in your or your passengers’ possession while in a vehicle. It can be tempting to have your recently purchased cannabis next to you on the way home, so just remember, “out of sight, out of mind” and you’ll be free from all fines and consequences that Rhode Island has put into place.
Medical Marijuana patients are allowed to grow twelve (12) mature plants and twelve (12) seedlings at a time. All grows must be registered with the Department of Health and each plant must have a medical cannabis plant tag.
Rhode Island patients can apply for and purchase plant tags through their division page. Plant tags are sold in sets of two (2). Each set is twenty-five ($25.00) dollars (plus a processing fee) and are valid for one (1) year. Cash payments are not accepted. After purchasing your plant tags, you will be given a Plant Tag Certificate to print out. These certificates display how many plants are allowed, where you are allowed to grow, and the effective dates of the tags. The certificate is to be displayed on the wall and visible in your grow room.
The Rhode Island Cannabis Bill now allows adults, twenty-one (21) years of age and older, to grow six (6) plants with only three (3) of them being mature plants, for personal use. Explore Strains
Rhode Island offers reciprocity to patients from other states. You must bring a physical medical marijuana card from your state as well as a driver's license from the same state. Out-of-state patients can possess up to two and a half (2.5) ounces.
Compassion Centers will accept medical marijuana cards from the following states: WA, OR, CA, NV, AK, HI, MT, CO, NM, ND, AR, IL, MI, OH, PA, NY, MD, DE, RI, MA, & DC.
Registered patients are allowed to designate one caregiver and one authorized purchaser. Patients under 18 must appoint a custodial parent or legal guardian as their primary caregiver. To become approved, a caregiver must be at least 21-years-old and can assist up to five qualified patients at any time.
A primary caregiver can possess up to the equivalent of 12 mature marijuana plants, 2.5 ounces of dried cannabis, or 12.5 ounces of wet marijuana for each cardholder they assist.
Currently, home delivery is available from Compassion Centers only. Medical Marijuana shall only be delivered to a valid patient cardholder. You must first register with the compassion center’s delivery program. Deliveries can only be made to a cardholder’s home address, hospice, treatment, or other medical care facility that allows medical marijuana on the premises. Compassion centers can only conduct home deliveries between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Deliveries must be paid in advance with an electronic payment. Compassion centers may not charge a delivery fee that is more than twenty (20) dollars.
If a patient requires a medical marijuana product that is available at the compassion center's retail location, but is not offered for delivery, the compassion center must make that product available for delivery to that patient upon their request, provided the requested product is in stock.