Providence County Cannabis – Is It Legal & Where To Buy 2024

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Providence County?

Yes, it is legal to cultivate marijuana in Providence County. Cannabis is acceptable for both medical and adult use in Rhode Island. Through law approved in 2006, medical use was permitted, and adult use followed in 2022.

According to Rhode Island's Medical Marijuana Act, the Department of Business Regulation issues the regulations regarding applications for medical marijuana cultivator licenses. Section 21-28.6-16 says that a licensed medical marijuana cultivator is allowed to purchase, possess, manufacture, grow, deliver, or transfer medical marijuana to other licensed medical marijuana cultivators or licensed compassion centers. A primary caregiver cardholder registered with any eligible patient or holder of a cooperative cultivation license is not allowed to be a licensed medical marijuana cultivator.

Only one single facility that is registered with both the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Business Regulation may be used by medical marijuana cultivators. Regulations governing where cultivators are permitted to grow may be issued by the Department of Business Regulation. The Department of Health or the Department of Business Regulation may reasonably inspect medical marijuana growers in order to enforce regulations.

Cooperative cultivation is also allowed in Rhode Island. This means that two or more qualifying cardholders may cultivate marijuana collaboratively in either residential or nonresidential places, which is subject to the following restrictions:

  1. Only one location may be used for growing, including participation in cooperative cultivation, by a registered patient or primary caregiver cardholder

  2. A single location may not have more than one cooperative cultivation. Location refers to a single structural building, not individual units inside a structural building

  3. The cooperative cultivation must be hidden from view from the street or other public spaces

  4. A signed, written acknowledgment of the restrictions on the right to use and possess marijuana for medical purposes in Rhode Island must be posted clearly in the cooperative cultivation facility

A non-residential cooperative cultivation may have up to 48 mature marijuana plants and 48 seedlings, an amount of wet marijuana set by the Departments of Health and Business Regulation, but not more than 10 oz. of dried marijuana or its equivalent. On the other hand, a residential cooperative cultivation may have up to 24 mature marijuana plants and 24 seedlings, an amount of wet marijuana set by the Departments of Health and Business Regulation, but not more than 10 oz. of dried marijuana, or its equivalent. Furthermore, anyone who cultivates marijuana must acquire plant tags from the Department of Business Regulation, whether they are a patient or the primary caregiver.

As for the recently-approved adult-use cannabis, the Rhode Island Cannabis Act (signed on May 25, 2022) states that starting August 1, 2022, any medical marijuana cultivator who has been licensed or approved in accordance with Section 21-28.6-16 will be able to grow, manufacture, and process cannabis as a hybrid cultivator for both medical use and adult use upon payment of an additional licensing fee. The fee shall be deposited in the social equity fund. All cultivation must be done in an enclosed, locked facility.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Providence County?

Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Providence County. Section 21-28.11-9 of the Rhode Island Cannabis Act states that a cannabis product manufacturer, processor, or wholesaler must not hold a cannabis cultivator's license in order to obtain a cannabis product manufacturer's license from the Cannabis Control Commission. A licensee authorized to manufacture cannabis products may acquire cannabis from cultivators for processing and may only transfer or sell cannabis to other licensed entities.

The applicant must meet all requirements stipulated by the commission in order to be eligible and maintain a manufacturer's license for cannabis products, including but not limited to:

  1. Apply for a license in accordance with the commission's guidelines

  2. Present documentation demonstrating that the applicant is at least 21 years old and a state resident

  3. Conduct a background investigation of any criminal history with conditions set forth by the commission

  4. Offer evidence demonstrating that the applicant is up to date and in compliance with all filing and payment requirements with the Division of Taxation

  5. Has paid an application fee that is non-refundable and is established by rules and regulations issued by the commission

  6. Before receiving a license or renewing one, the applicant must provide the social equity fund with the annual license fee set by the commission and outlined in the rules and regulations

A cannabis establishment must practice the following:

  • Secure each entrance to the establishment so that access to areas containing cannabis is limited to employees and others allowed by the establishment to access the area

  • Secure its inventory and equipment both during and after operating hours to prevent theft of cannabis

  • No cannabis business is allowed to grow, process, test, store, or manufacture cannabis or cannabis-related products anywhere other than at a physical address that has been authorized by the commission and inside a space that is enclosed and secured in a way that prevents access by individuals who are not authorized by the business to enter the area

  • No cannabis establishment must permit the growing, manufacturing, processing, selling, or displaying of cannabis or cannabis products to be seen from a public area without the use of binoculars, a plane, or other optical aids as established by the commission

  • No cannabis establishment must allow anybody under the age of 21 to volunteer or work for the establishment

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Providence County?

Yes, cannabis retail is legal in Providence County. Starting December 1, 2022, a licensed compassion center may sell adult-use cannabis for a year by paying the Department of Business Regulation a hybrid cannabis retailer fee of $125,000, which must be deposited in the social equity fund. The Medical Marijuana Act defines a compassion center as a non-profit organization that is licensed and engages in the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, delivery, transfer, transportation, supply, or dispensation of medical marijuana to patients, their registered caregiver cardholders, or authorized purchasers.

A hybrid retailer means a medical dispensary that is converted and approved to sell recreational cannabis. The following requirements for a hybrid retailer must be met:

  • The compassion center must be in good standing with the department and keep its compassion center license current

  • The compassion center must use good faith efforts to ensure that the medical marijuana program and patient needs won't be significantly harmed by the sale of cannabis for adult use by a hybrid cannabis retailer

  • The compassion center is required to display a copy of a certificate of authorization proving that it has a valid license and has paid the hybrid cannabis retailer fee in a visible location

Besides the hybrid cannabis retailer, the commission has the authority to issue 24 retail licenses. The following requirements must be met in order for an applicant to be granted a cannabis retail sales license:

  1. Apply for a license in the manner specified by the commission

  2. Provide evidence that the applicant is at least 21 years old and a resident of the state;

  3. Submit to a criminal record background check on any terms established by the commission

  4. Show evidence that the applicant is up to date and in compliance with all tax filing and payment dues with the division of taxation

  5. Prove that the proposed location for cannabis retail sales complies with local zoning and ordinances or has received municipal approval

  6. Paid the nonrefundable application fee set forth in the rules and regulations and assessed by the commission

  7. The applicant must pay an annual fee of $30,000 to be deposited in the social equity fund before any licenses are issued and during any periods of renewal

Pursuant to the new law (Rhode Island Cannabis Act), any person who is 21 years of age or older shall not be subject to arrest. any kind of disqualification under state law, or the forfeiture of property for the following:

  • Having, using, buying from a licensed cannabis retailer, or processing 1 oz. or less of cannabis, with the exception that no more than 5 grams of cannabis may be in the form of cannabis concentrate

  • Having, cultivating, or processing up to 3 immature cannabis plants per dwelling unit for personal use, provided that all security requirements set forth by the commission are met

  • Owning up to 10 oz. total of cannabis within the person's primary residence, along with any live cannabis plants that are kept on the property legally, provided that all security requirements set forth by the commission are met

  • Giving away or otherwise transferring up to 1 oz. of cannabis to a person who is 21 years old or older without receiving payment, with the exception that no more than 5 grams of cannabis may be in the form of cannabis concentrate, as long as the transfer is not publicized or marketed

  • Assisting someone who is at least 21 years old in one of the activities mentioned above

Cannabis forms that can be sold in Rhode Island include beverages, topical products, edible products, oils, ointments, and tinctures.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Providence County?

Yes, cannabis delivery is allowed in Providence County. Patients who possess a valid patient ID card that has been issued by the Rhode Island Department of Health are eligible for home deliveries. Deliveries of medical marijuana may only be made to the Rhode Island patient cardholder's home location, hospice, treatment center, or other healthcare facilities where the patient is being treated, provided the facility approves the patient's possession and/or use of the on-site medical marijuana.

Compassion centers may only make home deliveries between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Payment in advance is required for all home deliveries. Compassion centers shall not accept money at the time of delivery.

Additionally, deliveries between licensed marijuana establishments are allowed.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Providence County

To obtain a medical marijuana card in Providence County, you must:

  • Must reside in Rhode Island and provide proof of residency (valid IDs such as RI Driver’s License and RI State ID)

  • Fill up and sign the patient form

  • Send in a Practitioner Form (which a certifying physician must fill out and sign)

  • Send in a $50 non-refundable application fee (or $25 if you receive Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, Federal Railroad Disability Benefit, Social Security Disability Income, and others).

  • Patients may designate one caregiver and/or one authorized purchaser. They must undergo a National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) background check as a legal requirement for caretakers and authorized buyers.

  • For minor patients, they must identify a legal guardian or custodial parent as their primary caregiver or authorized purchaser. A minor form must also be filled out, signed, and sent with the patient form.

To qualify for a medical marijuana card, a patient must have one of the following diagnoses:

  • Cancer

  • Glaucoma

  • Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or the treatment of this condition

  • Hepatitis C

  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • A chronic or debilitating illness or its treatment that results in one or more of the following:

    • Severe nausea

    • Cachexia or wasting syndrome

    • Severe, debilitating, chronic pain

    • Seizures, including those characteristics of epilepsy

    • Agitation related to Alzheimer's Disease

    • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristics of Crohn's disease or multiple sclerosis

For more information, you may contact:

Rhode Island Department of Health

3 Capitol Hill

Providence, RI 02908

Phone: 401-222-5960

After Hours Phone: 401-276-8046

After Hours Phone: 401-276-8046

RI Relay 71

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Providence County?

According to the Medical Marijuana Program 2022 Annual Report, the RIDOH approved and issued 2,825 patient registrations, 96 caregiver registrations, and 144 authorized purchaser registrations during the fiscal year of July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022.

Meanwhile, the data generated from the Department of Business Regulation showed that in the month of October 2022 alone, cultivator-to-compassion center sales amounted to $755,385 while retail sales totaled $4,622,075.

Now that recreational cannabis use in Rhode Island is enacted, the new law imposes a 10% state cannabis excise tax, in addition to the 7% sales tax and the 3% local tax for the municipality where the sale occurs. As mentioned in the above sections, the licensing fees proceeds to the social equity fund. Cannabis legalization in Rhode Island, according to lawmakers, is a step in creating new opportunities for the residents. This, in turn, helps the state economy.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Providence County

The Providence County Police Department records a decreasing number of marijuana arrests from 2019, 2020, and 2021— from 20 to 10 and 9, respectively.

Statewide, data generated from the FBI crime database show that marijuana arrests in Rhode Island from 2019, 2020, and 2021 varied from 319 to 284 and 315 cases. On the other hand, DUI arrests from 2019 to 2020 and 2021 also varied from 2,480 to 2,047 and 2,799, respectively.

Keep in mind that Rhode Island legalized cannabis for adult use in 2022.

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