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

  1. Rhode Island Cannabis
  2. Washington Cannabis Overview

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Washington County?

Yes, it is allowed to cultivate marijuana in Washington County. Cannabis is approved for both medical and adult use in the State of Rhode Island. Medical use was authorized in 2006, and recreational use occurred in 2022.

The Department of Business Regulation determines the rules concerning applications for medical marijuana cultivator licenses. A licensed medical marijuana grower is permitted to buy, manufacture, possess, cultivate, transfer, or deliver medical marijuana to other licensed medical marijuana growers or licensed compassion centers, as per Section 21-28.6-16 of Rhode Island's Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act. A primary caregiver cardholder enrolled with any qualifying patient, or a cooperative cultivation license holder is not permitted to be a licensed medical marijuana cultivator.

Medical marijuana cultivators are limited to using a single facility that has been registered with the Departments of Public Safety and Business Regulation. The Department of Business Regulation has the authority to set regulations that specify where cultivators are allowed to grow marijuana. For the purpose of enforcing regulations, the Department of Business Regulation or the Department of Health may legitimately inspect medical marijuana growers.

In Rhode Island, cooperative cultivation is also legal. This indicates that two or more qualifying cardholders are authorized to cultivate marijuana collectively in either residential or nonresidential settings, subject to the following limitations:

  1. A registered patient or primary caregiver cardholder may participate in a cooperative cultivation program at only one location

  2. Cooperative cultivations are limited to only one per location. Location refers to a single structural building rather than specific interior units.

  3. Cooperative cultivations must be concealed from public view in the street and other areas

  4. The cooperative cultivation facility shall prominently display a signed, written acceptance of the limitations on the right to use and carry marijuana for medical purposes in Rhode Island

A non-residential cooperative cultivation may grow up to 48 mature marijuana plants and 48 seedlings, an amount of wet marijuana determined by the Departments of Business Regulation and Health, with a maximum of 10 ounces of dried marijuana. However, a residential cooperative cultivation may only grow up to 24 mature marijuana plants and 24 seedlings, an amount of wet marijuana determined by the Departments of Health and Business Regulation, with a maximum of 10 ounces of dried marijuana. Anyone who grows marijuana must also obtain plant tags from the Department of Business Regulation, regardless of whether they are a patient or the designated caregiver.

The Rhode Island Cannabis Act states that beginning on August 1, 2022, any medical marijuana cultivator who has been licensed will be able to grow and process cannabis as a hybrid cultivator for both medical and recreational marijuana use upon paying an additional licensing fee. The fee must be placed into the social equity fund.

All cultivation must occur in an enclosed, locked area. Outdoor cultivation is prohibited.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Washington County?

Washington County has legalized cannabis manufacturing. A cannabis product processor, manufacturer, or distributor cannot have a cannabis cultivator's license, according to section 21-28.11-9 of the Rhode Island Cannabis Act. A manufacturing licensee who is allowed to manufacture cannabis products can buy cannabis from cultivators for processing and can only sell or transfer it to other licensed businesses.

To qualify for and keep a manufacturer's license for cannabis products, the applicant must fulfill all specifications set forth by the commission, including but not limited to:

  1. In accordance with the commission's rules, submit an application for a license

  2. Provide proof that the applicant is at least 21 years of age and a resident of the state

  3. Conduct a background check on any criminal history in accordance with the guidelines established by the commission

  4. Provide proof that the applicant has complied with all filing and payment criteria with the Division of Taxation and is up to date with those requirements

  5. Has paid a non-refundable application charge as outlined by rules and regulations issued by the commission

  6. The applicant must pay the yearly license fee established by the commission and specified in the rules and regulations to the social equity fund before being granted a license or renewing one

A cannabis business must adhere to the following rules:

  • No cannabis business shall be permitted to cultivate, test, process, store, or manufacture cannabis anyplace other than at a physical address authorized by the commission and within an area that is enclosed and secured in a manner that prohibits access by persons not authorized by the business

  • No cannabis business may allow cannabis or cannabis products to be grown, processed, sold, or displayed in a public place to be seen by people without using binoculars, an aircraft, or other optical aids as determined by the commission

  • No cannabis business shall hire or accept as a volunteer any person under the age of 21

  • Secure every entrance to the business so that only people who have been given permission by it and staff can enter areas that contain cannabis

  • To stop cannabis theft, keep track of your inventory and equipment during and after business hours

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Washington County?

Retail sales of cannabis are legal in Washington County. Beginning December 1, 2022, a licensed compassion center may sell or distribute recreational cannabis for a year by paying a hybrid cannabis retailer charge of $125,000, which must be put in the social equity fund. A compassion center is a non-profit business that has a license and deals in the purchase, cultivation, possession, manufacture, delivery, transfer, supply, dispensation, or transportation of medical marijuana to patients, their registered caregivers, or authorized buyers.

A hybrid retailer is a medical dispensary that has been converted and licensed to sell recreational marijuana. A hybrid retailer must satisfy the following conditions:

  • The compassion center is required to make good faith measures to make sure that the medical marijuana program and patient requirements won't be materially impacted by a hybrid cannabis retailer selling cannabis for adult consumption.

  • The compassion center must maintain good standing with the government department and maintain its compassion center license.

  • The compassion center must put on display in plain view a copy of the certificate of authorization confirming that it has a current license and has paid the hybrid cannabis retailer fees.

The commission has the power to grant 24 retail licenses in addition to the hybrid cannabis retailer. To be eligible for a cannabis retail sales license, an applicant must fulfill the following criteria:

  1. Obtain a license by fulfilling the commission's guidelines

  2. Substantiate the applicant's residency in the state and that they are at least 21 years old

  3. Substantiate the applicant's adherence with all tax filing and payment obligations to the Division of Taxation

  4. Submit to any requirements imposed by the commission, including a background check for criminal history

  5. Paid the non-refundable fee for application imposed by the commission and outlined in the rules and regulations

  6. Show that the location chosen for cannabis retail sales complies with all applicable local zoning and ordinances or that it has acquired municipal approval

  7. Before any licenses are awarded or renewed, the applicant must pay an annual fee of $30,000 to be put in the social equity fund.

Anyone who is 21 years of age or older is exempt from being arrested under the new law (Rhode Island Cannabis Act) for any of the following:

  • Possessing, using, purchasing from, or processing 1 oz. or less of marijuana, except that no more than 5 grams of cannabis are in the form of a cannabis concentrate

  • Having, growing, or processing up to three immature cannabis plants per housing unit for personal use, provided the commission's security standards are met

  • Having up to 10 oz. total amount of cannabis in the applicant's main residence, including any live plants, kept on the premises legally, provided that all security standards established by the commission are satisfied

  • Giving or transferring up to 1 oz. of cannabis to an individual 21 or older without remuneration, except that no more than 5 grams of cannabis are in the form of cannabis concentrate, as long as the transfer is not promoted or publicized

  • Assisting a person who is at least 21 years old to engage in one of the aforementioned activities

In Rhode Island, cannabis can be purchased in the following forms: beverages, ointments, topical products, edibles, oils, and tinctures.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Washington County?

The delivery of cannabis is legal in Providence County. Home deliveries are only available to patients who have a current patient ID card that has been issued by the Rhode Island Department of Health. Only the home address of the Rhode Island patient cardholder, the hospice, the treatment center, or another healthcare facility where the patient is receiving treatment may receive medical marijuana deliveries, provided the facility approves the patient's use and possession of the on-site medical marijuana.

Compassion centers are only permitted to conduct home deliveries between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. All residential deliveries must be paid for in advance. At the time of delivery, compassion centers are not allowed to accept payment.

Additionally, deliveries are permitted between licensed marijuana businesses.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Washington County

To receive a medical marijuana card in Providence County, you must do the following:

  • Must be a Rhode Island resident and be able to prove it with a valid ID, such as a RI driver's license or RI state ID

  • Complete and sign the patient form

  • Submit a Practitioner Form (which a certifying doctor must fill out and sign)

  • Must send a $50 non-refundable fee (or $25 if you receive Federal Railroad Disability Benefit, Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, Social Security Disability Income, or another qualifying benefit)

  • One caregiver and/or one approved buyer may be chosen by the patient. As a requirement of the law, caretakers and authorized purchasers are obliged to submit to a background investigation through the National Criminal Information Center (NCIC)

  • Patients under the age of 18 must designate a parent or legal guardian as their primary caregiver or authorized buyer. The patient form must be sent with a completed, signed minor form

One of the following health conditions is necessary for a patient to be eligible for a medical marijuana card:

  • Cancer

  • Hepatitis C

  • Glaucoma

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

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

  • A persistent or debilitating condition, or its treatment, which causes one or more of the following: \

    • Agitation related to Alzheimer's Disease

    • Severe, debilitating, chronic pain

    • Severe nausea

    • Cachexia or wasting syndrome

    • Seizures, including those characteristics of epilepsy

    • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, such as those linked to multiple sclerosis or Crohn's illness

For inquiries, you may contact:

Rhode Island Department of Health

3 Capitol Hill

Providence, RI 02908

Phone: 401-222-5960

After Hours Phone: 401-276-8046

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Washington County?

The RIDOH accepted and granted 2,825 patient registrations, 144 authorized purchaser registrations, and 96 caregiver registrations during the fiscal year that ran from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. This is based on the Medical Marijuana Program 2022 Annual Report.

Meanwhile, sales from cultivators to compassion centers totaled $755,385 in October 2022 alone, while retail sales came to $4,622,075, according to data gathered by the Department of Business Regulation.

In addition to the sales tax of 7% and the local tax of 3% for the municipality where the sale transpires, Rhode Island's new law that legalized recreational cannabis use also imposes a 10% state cannabis excise tax. The social equity fund receives the license fees, as described in the sections above. Legislators believe that legalizing marijuana will open up new prospects for the people of Rhode Island. In turn, this strengthens the state's economy.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Washington County

Rhode Island decriminalized marijuana for adult use in 2022. According to data compiled from the FBI criminal database, Rhode Island had 319, 284, and 315 marijuana arrests between 2019 and 2021, respectively. On the other hand, DUI arrests fluctuated from 2,480 to 2,047 and 2,799, respectively, during the years 2019, 2020, and 2021.

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