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Only patients and caregivers registered with the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program and suffering from certain debilitating medical conditions can buy medical marijuana. Registered patients in the state may also designate one authorized purchaser besides one caregiver to assist them with getting medical cannabis. Approved qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana therapy in Rhode Island include:
Yes. The Rhode Island Department of Health now accepts medical marijuana card applications online via its Cannabis Licensing Portal. However, you must obtain your initial medical cannabis certification from a Rhode Island licensed physician in person. Only patients renewing their medical cannabis certifications can obtain their recommendations via telemedicine.
You can register with the Rhode Island medical marijuana program by obtaining a medical marijuana certification from a licensed doctor and submitting an application to the state Department of Health via its Cannabis Licensing Portal. However, you must have a qualifying condition and be a legal Rhode Island resident to be eligible to apply.
Yes. Rhode Island medical marijuana cards are only available to legal residents of the state.
Beginning December 1, 2022, the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) stopped charging an application fee for the state's medical marijuana card. As a result, patients, caregivers, and authorized purchasers no longer need to pay an application fee for a Rhode Island medical marijuana license. However, they will pay a $10 fee to replace a stolen or lost card and a $10 fee to change a piece of information. The DOH accepts payments made by checks or money orders. A check must be made payable to the Rhode Island General Treasurer.
A registered medical marijuana patient in Rhode Island needs to have their medical marijuana card/license while visiting a dispensary, otherwise called a compassion center in the state. Rhode Island has medical marijuana reciprocity. Hence, it recognizes and allows registered patients from other states with established medical marijuana programs to purchase medical cannabis from approved dispensaries within the state. However, out-of-state patients must present their medical marijuana ID cards and any state-issued ID while visiting a dispensary in Rhode Island.
Patients in Rhode Island need to see their doctors to determine if their medical conditions qualify for medical cannabis and to know whether medical marijuana is appropriate for them. If the doctor finds out that a patient is eligible for medical cannabis and that it is good for them, the doctor will complete a Practitioner Written Certification Form. Qualifying patients need this form (filled out by their doctors) to register with the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program and get medical marijuana.
Under the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program, a practitioner is someone licensed to prescribe drugs in the state or a physician who is approved to prescribe drugs in Connecticut or Massachusetts. The practitioner may be an Advanced Practice Nurse, Physician, or Physician Assistant. They are required to have a practitioner-patient relationship with their patients to assess their needs for medical marijuana. The Rhode Island DOH does not have a registry for authorized doctors under its Medical Marijuana Program
Anyone under 18 cannot apply for a medical marijuana card or access medical cannabis on their own in Rhode Island. Qualifying medical patients under 18 must have registered caregivers who are willing to serve as their caregivers listed on the patient's application form. In many cases, designated caregivers for minor medical marijuana patients in Rhode Island are their custodial parents or legal guardians. The minor patient's attending practitioner must explain to the patient and their caregiver the potential benefits and risks of using medical cannabis. Also, the caregiver (the patient's custodial parent or legal guardian) must consent to the use of cannabis by the patient for medical purposes by completing the Medical Marijuana Minor Form as part of the medical marijuana card application process.
Yes. Under the Rhode Island medical marijuana program, applicants who are 18 years and older are adults. Therefore, minors can look forward to obtaining their medical marijuana cards when they turn 18 in Rhode Island. They would no longer need the consent of their parents or legal guardians to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program and do not have to designate caregivers when applying for medical marijuana cards.
Generally, a renewal application for a Rhode Island medical marijuana identification card is sent out at least 60 days before the current one expires. Any medical patient, caregiver, or authorized purchaser who does not receive their application in the mail or lost it can contact the Rhode Island Department of Health via email to request another one. The renewal application form advised by the DOH will contain further instructions on submitting it.
Yes, marijuana is legal for medical purposes in Rhode Island. Medical cannabis became legal in the state following the enactment of the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Act, otherwise known as the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act. This Act allows Rhode Island suffering from debilitating medical conditions to use marijuana for medical purposes. However, such patients must obtain a physician certification stating that cannabis may relieve their symptoms. The certification must also stipulate that the potential benefits of using medical cannabis would probably outweigh any other health risks to the patient.
The passage of the state's Medical Marijuana Act mandated the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) to implement the state's Medical Marijuana Program to register qualified patients. Under the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, registered patients may possess no more than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana for medical purposes. However, legal access to medical marijuana in the state was only fairly realistic in 2009 when the DOH got approval to license not-for-profit compassion centers to sell medical marijuana
Under the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Act, in-state patients and caregivers registered with the Medical Marijuana Program may cultivate a limited number of marijuana plants at home for patients' medical purposes. However, the DOH's Medical Marijuana Program requires patients to indicate on their application whether they intend to grow medical marijuana plants at home. Medical patients and caregivers who plan to grow marijuana for themselves must register their cultivation site with the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulations (DBR) and obtain a plant tag certificate. No medical marijuana patient in the state can legally engage in home-grown medical cannabis without acquiring a plant tag certificate.
A registered medical marijuana patient in Rhode Island can grow up to 12 marijuana plants. They can get up to 12 sets of plant tag certificates per year and cannot exceed 12 in a given timeframe. Plant tag certificates are sold in sets of two; one for a mature plant and one for an immature (seedling) plant. A caregiver who is also a medical marijuana patient may purchase up to 12 tag sets for themselves and an additional 12 sets of tags for their patient(s). A caregiver who is not growing marijuana for themself but has multiple patients can buy up to 24 tag sets and distribute them among the patients under their care.
Rhode Island prohibits growing cannabis outdoors, including in greenhouses. Marijuana plants or cultivation equipment must not be visible to the public. Growers must ensure that any windows in the growing spaces are covered at all times. Per the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Regulations administered by the Office of Cannabis Regulation at the DBR, grow sites must be secure indoor structures. Such structures must be within four safe walls under a solid roof fitted with appropriate security devices and locks. Growers must employ odor mitigation systems to minimize the smell of marijuana outside their growing spaces.
While recreational cannabis is now legal in Rhode Island, having a medical marijuana card still offers specific benefits, including:
The Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program makes provision for medical marijuana patients who are minors or disabled to have designated caregivers. A medical marijuana caregiver is an individual who purchases medical cannabis at a marijuana dispensary on a patient's behalf and administers it to them (patients). In Rhode Island, a medical marijuana caregiver must be a state resident, at least 21 years of age, and satisfy a National Criminal Identification Check. A medical patient can only have one caregiver in the state, but a caregiver can serve up to five medical marijuana patients.
Medical marijuana caregivers in Rhode Island must apply for caregiver registration under the state's medical marijuana program. Additionally, they must obtain plant tag certificates from the Department of Business Regulations to grow marijuana for their patients. A custodial parent or a legal guardian usually serves as a minor's primary caregiver.
A medical marijuana patient in Rhode Island may also designate an authorized purchaser who equally requires registration to help them buy and deliver medical cannabis from a compassion center. Like a caregiver, an authorized purchaser must also be at least 21 years old and undergo a criminal identification check. A patient can only have one authorized purchaser, and an authorized purchaser may only serve one patient. Unlike a caregiver, an authorized purchaser may live outside Rhode Island.
Yes. Licensed compassion centers or medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island are authorized to dispense medical marijuana to out-of-state patient cardholders. A visiting patient with an out-of-state medical marijuana card can possess and buy up to 2.5 ounces of non-concentrated marijuana or its equivalent in a 15-day period.
Yes, medical marijuana records in the state are protected by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. They are exempt from the provisions of the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act. Hence, employers cannot access medical marijuana records maintained by the Department of Health under the state’s medical marijuana program.
Notwithstanding the confidentiality provision, the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Department of Business Regulation may verify to law enforcement personnel whether a registry ID card is valid and may provide further information to confirm whether a cardholder is compliant with the provisions of the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Act. Also, the Department of Health and the Department of Business Regulation employees may notify law enforcement agencies about falsified or fraudulent information submitted to the department or violations of the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Act.
No. Insurance businesses do not cover costs associated with medical marijuana in Rhode Island.
A Rhode Island medical marijuana card allows a patient to purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis every 15 days.
Yes. If you can present a valid government ID showing you are 21 or older, you can purchase cannabis in Rhode Island. Medical marijuana cards are only required for patients looking to buy medical cannabis.