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Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana in Rhode Island

A state with a 350-mile coastline, yet stretching only fifty miles from East to West, Rhode Island is a mix of inlets and bays and tree-covered neighborhoods. One of the oldest states in the nation, Rhode Island today has a population of over one million. For over a decade, the smallest state in the U.S. has put the health and well-being of their citizens over the prohibition of marijuana, and cannabis laws in the state continue to evolve as the new industry unfolds along New England.

Is marijuana legal in Rhode Island?
The passage of "The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act" made medical marijuana legal in Rhode Island.
When did marijuana become legal in Rhode Island?
The medical marijuana program was signed into law in 2006.
Where are the dispensaries in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island only allows three active dispensaries to operate at one time. As of March 2017, the state has authorized three compassion centers to dispense medical marijuana and marijuana-infused products to registered patients and caregivers.
  • Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center, located in Providence
  • Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center, located in Portsmouth
  • Summit Medical Compassion Center, located in Warwick
Are they MED or REC dispensaries?
Neighboring Massachusetts, where marijuana has been legalized recreationally, is sure to put pressure on the state to adopt more reformative laws. Until then, only medical dispensaries - aka Compassion Centers - exist in Rhode Island.
Who can be a medical patient in Rhode Island?
The Rhode Island Department of Health is in charge of licensing patients after the individual has been certified by a physician in good standing. Certifications may be issued by physicians within the state or those from Connecticut and Massachusetts. The diseases and conditions currently recognized by the Rhode Island medical marijuana program are:
  • Cancer or the treatment of cancer (chemotherapy)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS or the treatment for this condition
  • Hepatitis C
Any chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment which produces any of the following:
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe, debilitating, chronic pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures, including, but not limited to, those seen in epilepsy
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, such as those seen in:
    • Multiple Sclerosis or
    • Crohn's disease
Terminal patients may also be registered with the program. A patient or medical practitioner may petition to have additional medical conditions or diseases added to the list.
How do I become a medical patient in Rhode Island?
Patients in the Rhode Island medical marijuana program can be any age. For minors under 18, a parent or guardian must provide written consent to treatment and submit the application. They must also agree to be the patient caregiver and be in control of all purchases and dosing of medical marijuana products.

For individuals with qualifying illnesses or conditions 18 or older, the process is as follows:
  1. The Rhode Island Department of Health requires your certifying physician to fill out the Practitioner form, providing in writing the diagnosis qualifying a patient to use medical marijuana.
  2. Once you have a completed practitioner form, the next step is to submit the application to the Department of Health.
    • Any caregiver or authorized purchaser is required to submit to a background check.
    • At this point, patients may designate a grow site to cultivate their own marijuana at home.
Accepted applications will be mailed a registration ID card. The registration card allows access to any of the compassion centers in the state.
Where can I smoke?
The laws permitting the use, cultivation, and sale of medical marijuana in Rhode Island restrict where marijuana may be smoked to private residences. Additionally, no consumption of marijuana or marijuana-infused products in any form is allowed in the following places:
  • On a school bus
  • On any form of public transportation
  • On any school grounds or property
  • In any correctional facility or detention center
  • In any public place
  • In any licensed drug treatment facility in this state;
No person is permitted to begin a task while under the influence marijuana which can endanger the safety and well-being of others, including children, or anyone else in a way seeming negligent.
How much does marijuana cost in Rhode Island?
A gram of marijuana flower costs between $10-$15 but may be more depending on the strain. 1/8th of flower costs around $40 on average, while an ounce is generally between $250-$350.
How much marijuana can I buy and possess in Rhode Island?
According to dispensary regulations, patients may purchase as much as 2.5 ounces every 15-day period; however, at any time the patient may only possess as much as 2.5 ounces.
Can I grow marijuana? How many plants?
Patients can grow as many as twelve mature plants (flowering) and twelve immature plants or seedlings. Growing must be done in a place that is secure and all marijuana harvested must be kept in a secure, locked facility.

All plants must be tagged. Tags can be purchased from the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation.
How do I get a job in the marijuana industry Rhode Island?
Adults age 21 and older, regardless of residency, are permitted to work in the Rhode Island medical marijuana industry. Those with a felony drug conviction will be immediately denied.

Be sure to speak with this compassion center first. Both you and the dispensary are required to submit an application on your behalf, including a $75 application fee ($150 total).
Is Drug testing for marijuana legal in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island protects medical marijuana patients from discrimination by schools, employers, and landlords. Being a medical patient is not a good enough reason to refuse someone a job or home.

However, a patient can be discharged from the job for being intoxicated at work, as employers are not required to accommodate on-the-job use of medical marijuana.
Is Delivery legal?
Delivery is legal from a dispensary to a registered patient. Additionally, a patient may assign a caregiver or authorized purchaser to make purchases on their behalf.
How to pay for marijuana in Rhode Island dispensaries?
Rhode Island has yet to find a way to separate federal banking regulations from federally illegal drug enterprise, where marijuana continues to exist. As a result, sales in Rhode Island dispensaries are usually limited to cash transactions.

Rhode Island Marijuana Laws

Rhode Island has one of the highest population densities in the United States, with over one million residents living in the state. Though Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US, by allowing home growing, their medical marijuana program has outdone many of the neighboring states in creating access for patients.

Patients may grow as many as 12 mature, or flowering, marijuana plants and as many as 12 seedlings, or immature, marijuana plants. Each plant must be tagged with patient information and strain detail. Patients may possess up to ten ounces in a locked, secure place on the property but may only possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces in public. Patients may purchase up to 2.5 ounces every fifteen days from a compassion center.
Prices of Flower
  • 1 gram = $10-$15
  • 1/8th oz = $30-$40
  • One ounce = $250-$350
Prices of Concentrates
  • 1/2 gram of kief = $15-$20
  • ½ gram rosin = $35-$45
Price of Edibles
  • 10mg THC edible = $3-$8
  • 100mg THC edible = $15-$20
  • 10mg CBD edible = $3-$7
Tax Revenues and Enrollment
Rhode Island allows only three compassion centers to operate in the state at any time. In a report released by the Rhode Island Department of Health, on December 31st, 2016, the state had 16,418 active patients and 2,826 caregivers.

Rhode Island currently taxes sales using both the state sales tax and a special 4% tax on medical marijuana sales from the compassion center to the patient, putting the combined tax at 11%.

If we assume, for simplicity sake, that each patient purchases at minimum 1.5 ounces of marijuana at a price of $300 an ounce each month, this has the potential to generate nearly $7.4 million in sales per year, generating nearly $300,000 in special taxes and over $500,000 in sales taxes. Since patients and caregivers are required to pay an annual application fee of $50 and $100 respectively, Rhode Island already collects over $1.1 million in fees annually, alone. Outside of administration of the medical marijuana program, enforcement, and oversight, it is unclear where any excess revenues are deposited.

Rhode Island Marijuana Prices and Economic Data

Rhode Island has one of the highest population densities in the United States, with over one million residents living in the state. Though Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S., by allowing home growing, their medical marijuana program has outdone many of the neighboring states in creating access for patients.

Patients may grow as many as 12 mature, or flowering, marijuana plants and as many as 12 seedlings, or immature, marijuana plants. Each plant must be tagged with patient information and strain detail. Patients may possess up to ten ounces in a locked, secure place on the property but may only possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces in public. Patients may purchase up to 2.5 ounces every fifteen days from a compassion center.
Prices of Flower
  • 1 gram = $10-$15
  • 1/8th oz = $30-$40
  • One ounce = $250-$350
Prices of Concentrates
  • 1/2 gram of kief = $15-$20
  • ½ gram rosin = $35-$45
Price of Edibles
  • 10mg THC edible = $3-$8
  • 100mg THC edible = $15-$20
  • 10mg CBD edible = $3-$7
Tax Revenues and Enrollment
Rhode Island allows only three compassion centers to operate in the state at any time. In a report released by the Rhode Island Department of Health, on December 31st, 2016, the state had 16,418 active patients and 2,826 caregivers.

Rhode Island currently taxes sales using both the state sales tax and a special 4% tax on medical marijuana sales from the compassion center to the patient, putting the combined tax at 11%.

If we assume, for simplicity sake, that each patient purchases at minimum 1.5 ounces of marijuana at a price of $300 an ounce each month, this has the potential to generate nearly $7.4 million in sales per year, generating nearly $300,000 in special taxes and over $500,000 in sales taxes. Since patients and caregivers are required to pay an annual application fee of $50 and $100 respectively, Rhode Island already collects over $1.1 million in fees annually, alone. Outside of administration of the medical marijuana program, enforcement, and oversight, it is unclear where any excess revenues are deposited.

Marijuana Activities: Things to do in Rhode Island

Home to over 350 miles of coastline, Rhode Island has history of sea trade and a thriving tourist industry. Domestic and international travelers come for the beautiful lighthouses, state parks, and quaint hikes. As adult-use marijuana legalization emerges in Massachusetts, events and activities focused around cannabis are likely to appear. Until then, here are some of our favorite Rhode Island activities:
Block Island
Accessible via a short ferry ride, Block Island is just outside of Rhode Island proper. Over 17 miles of beaches grace the coastlines of the island and as much as 30 miles of hiking and biking trails. Home to several restaurants as well as iconic lighthouses, the island is a mix of the old and new.
Brenton Point State Park
At the corner where Newport intersects with the Narragansett Bay, you will find the Brenton Point State Park. Enjoy the ocean breeze as you fish, hike, sail, or swim away your day!
Colt State Park
Colt State Park is home to some of the most enchanting views in New England. It features picnic grounds, campsites, hiking and biking trails, piers, ports, and fruit trees. Since 1785, the must-see local event is the fourth of July party in the town of Bristol, where the park is located.

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