Cannabis in Rhode Island
Rhode Island Cannabis Laws
Is Weed Legal in Rhode Island?
Medical marijuana was legalized in 2009 allowing for state-licensed dispensaries or “Compassion Centers” to open in Rhode Island. Up until 2019, there were only three Compassion Centers in Rhode Island, but Governor Gina Raimondo tripled the number to 9 compassion centers across the state. Rhode Island has made a lot of strides in the expansion of medical marijuana and in 2020 has introduced a plan to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and up.
As for now, recreational marijuana is still not legal in the state of Rhode Island although it has been decriminalized. Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana will result in a civil violation which is akin to a traffic ticket, leading to no jail time and nothing put on one’s criminal record. Getting caught with more than an ounce, however, is still considered a felony and will potentially lead to fines and/or jail time.
Buying Marijuana in Rhode Island
Buying Marijuana at a Retail Location
As of now, there are no recreational marijuana facilities as it is still outlawed in the state of Rhode Island. Medical marijuana dispensaries or Compassion Centers, have been growing since their legalization in 2009. Currently, there are 9 Compassion Centers across the state which act just like any other medical dispensary. A patient must ensure they bring their state-issued ID as well as their state-issued medical marijuana card to enter a dispensary.
Using a Marijuana Delivery Service
For now, there is not exactly a commercial delivery medical marijuana service but patients that have trouble getting out of the house can designate a caregiver to be their purchaser if they meet certain requirements. In this case, a caregiver can legally purchase marijuana on behalf of the patient and bring it back to their residence. This does not apply to every patient but instead only to the ones in need.
There are no rules outlined regarding how long a Compassion Center may operate. Some close as early as 2:00 pm while others will stay open until 9:00 pm. Be sure to double-check your favorite Compassion Center before visiting.
Maine allows for the purchase of larger amounts of cannabis as compared to other states. Every 15 days either a registered caregiver or patient is allowed to purchase 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana products. This includes 2.5 ounces of weed or its equivalent in edibles, oils, creams, etc. After the 15 days expire, patients can then again elect to purchase up to 2.5 ounces.
As more and more research is being done on the medicinal uses of marijuana, the number of products has skyrocketed. Rhode Island will offer nearly every marijuana product one can imagine, ranging from actual bud to oils, creams, edibles and ointments. The variety of marijuana products is seemingly endless so check out your favorite dispensary to see what they offer!
Taxes on Marijuana in Rhode Island
Taxes on Recreational Marijuana in Rhode Island
The purchase of any marijuana or marijuana products without a valid medical card is still illegal in the state of Rhode Island. While it has been decriminalized there is no legal state-licensed business to purchase recreational cannabis and no system of taxes implemented.
Taxes on Medical Marijuana in Rhode Island
If you are a medical marijuana user in the state of Rhode Island, you are in luck! Rhode Island does not issue any sort of tax on any medical marijuana product. There is no excise tax, state tax, or sales tax! As of now, Rhode Island is one of the few states that imposes no tax on medical marijuana, but many other states are beginning to follow their lead.
Possession limits in Rhode Island are also based on purchasing limits. Caregivers or patients are legally allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces at a time. This means that they can hold up to 2.5 ounces of flower or its equivalent in oil, edibles, creams, or a combination of all types of products. If an adult 21 and up who does not have a medical card is found with less than an ounce of marijuana this is considered a civil violation and only constitutes a fine. Non-medical patients or caregivers found with more than an ounce are given a felony and could face jail time or fines.
Using Marijuana in Rhode Island
The only place one can legally smoke or consume cannabis is in the privacy of their own homes away from the view of the public. Always make sure that nobody under the age of 18 is present, and that your consumption of cannabis will not harm anyone around you. There have been no businesses to allow the consumption of marijuana, so your best bet is to always wait until you get home.
Areas in Rhode Island that DO allow the use of marijuana:
- Private residence
- Private land that is out of sight of the public
Areas in Rhode Island that DO NOT allow the use of marijuana:
- Any motor vehicle
- Any public land
- School grounds
- University campus
- Federal lands
Smoking on Federal Lands
As you may know, marijuana of any kind is still illegal on a federal level. Essentially what this means is that any land that is owned by the federal government puts you in the feds jurisdiction where marijuana is illegal. Therefore, if you are caught possessing and/or consuming marijuana on federally owned land, you will be prosecuted by the feds. Therefore, despite Rhode Island being known for its incredible parks, never attempt to bring marijuana to them as you could get into some serious trouble.
Medical Marijuana in Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program has been gradually expanding since its legalization in 2009. Voters have made massive strides since legalization by adding more dispensary locations and expanding the list of approved medical conditions. Users are currently trying to pass legislation for recreational marijuana and their efforts have gone a long way. It is speculated that recreational marijuana will become legal in the next few years under Governor Gina Raimondo.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Rhode Island
The application to obtain a medical marijuana card in Rhode Island is fairly straightforward with four steps:
- Obtain a physician’s certification that you are diagnosed with one of the approved medical conditions in the state.
- Next, complete and submit the medical marijuana application to the Rhode Island Department of Health.
- Provide proof of Rhode Island residency through your state-issued ID.
- Submit the application fee. ($50 per patient and $100 per caregiver).
After these steps, if approved, you are welcome to purchase medical marijuana in the state of Rhode Island and any other state that allows reciprocity.
Out of State Medical Cards Rhode Island
Rhode Island does allow for reciprocity, meaning that out of state medical marijuana cardholders are allowed to purchase medical marijuana within Rhode Island’s borders.
How to Transport Marijuana in Rhode Island
Transporting Marijuana in Rhode Island
State-licensed medical marijuana patients are legally allowed to transport marijuana in their cars within the state boundaries of Rhode Island. However, any marijuana product within the vehicle must be sealed and out of reach of the driver, including the glovebox. It is always best practice to store any marijuana in the car in the trunk or behind the backseat of the vehicle.
Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana
There is no legal limit that is safe to drive in the state of Rhode Island. Any sign of impairment will warrant a drug inspecting officer to be notified and sent to investigate one’s driving condition. Driving under the influence of marijuana is always a bad idea and can result in massive legal problems similar to that of a DUI. If found driving under the influence of marijuana, one’s license will be suspended, and they will have to pay massive legal fines and carry out court-mandated punishment. If you are high, don’t even think about driving and utilize Rhode Island’s public transportation or any popular ride-sharing app.
Driving Across State Lines with Marijuana
As you may know, the state borders are under federal jurisdiction, where weed is still illegal. Therefore, driving across state lines puts the driver and anyone in the car under federal law. If caught transporting marijuana across state lines, one will be prosecuted on a federal level which levies massive fines and possible jail time, even if weed is legal in the state you are driving to. Therefore, be smart and never attempt to cross state lines, the feds will be looking for you!
Growing Marijuana in Rhode Island
Medical patients or designated caregivers are legally allowed to grow marijuana in Rhode Island. Any grower must be an adult 21 years or older. Patients or caregivers who elect to grow their own cannabis must first register with the Department of Business Regulation and obtain a medical marijuana tag for each plant ($25 per tag). After obtaining their tags and declaring their plants, patients or caregivers can grow up to 12 flowering and 12 immature plants. Patients are also allowed to keep all of their grow, but it must not be used by anyone but the patient. Also, the grower is responsible to ensure that it cannot be accessed by anyone but themselves and it must be out of sight of the public eye.