Medical marijuana is legal in Rhode Island and has been since the mandatory minimum approval was granted in 2012. Since then, the state has considerably loosened up its policy.
What started as a state with some of the strictest minimums is now a place where a small amount of cannabis for recreational use is decriminalized.
Possession is still, however, a punishable offense. Here we’ll be clarifying medical marijuana in Rhode Island. Our guide will take you through the laws and qualifying medical conditions, as well as showing you where you can buy medical marijuana in Rhode Island as well.
Possession of one-ounce of non-medical cannabis is classed as a civil penalty. A $150 fine accompanies conviction with zero jail time and no criminal record. You’re not allowed to use cannabis in a public place and you’re not allowed to smoke cannabis in any area where smoking tobacco is prohibited. If you are found to be driving under the influence of cannabis your driver’s license can be suspended for up to six months (drugged-driving law).
Recommendations state that any person under the influence of smoked or vaped marijuana should refrain from driving or operating machinery for six hours. If you have consumed an edible marijuana product, the recommendation rises to eight hours.
Rhode Island Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program
In accordance with the Rhode Island Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program, authorized patients can buy cannabis from one of three compassion centers. A total of one-half ounce of medical marijuana is allowed every fifteen days. A caregiver or another authorized patient can collect your prescription if you can’t get it yourself. The three compassion centers are:
- Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center – Providence
- Greenleaf Compassion Center – Portsmouth
- Summit Medical Compassion Center – Warwick
Approved Qualifying Debilitating Medical Conditions
- Hepatitis C
- Chronic or debilitating diseases or medical conditions
While chronic or debilitating conditions is a rather broad classification, there are guidelines. Any treatment that results in cachexia, chronic or debilitating pain, severe nausea, seizures or epilepsy, and any agitation connected to Alzheimer’s disease are covered. Patients experiencing ongoing muscle spasms including but not limited to those plaguing multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease suffers also qualify.
Growing Your Own Marijuana
If you decide to grow your own cannabis for medical purposes then you’re allowed up to twelve mature plants and twelve seedlings. The grow location needs to be registered with the Department of Health and each plant needs to have a medical marijuana tag. Tags are sold at $25 per set, granting you a tag for one mature and a tag for one immature plant.
Any non-residential cannabis cultivation cooperative may have up to 48 mature plants and 48 mature seedlings. The exact amount of cannabis that is allowed to be grown is limited to the number of patients or caregivers growing but it has to remain under the 48-plant limit. Above the limits determined by the tally of the individual growers, cooperative growers are also allowed to have up to 10 ounces of cannabis on the premises.
If you’re a caregiver, you’re allowed to grow cannabis for up to five patients at once, giving you an allowance of up to 24 medical marijuana plants, and 24 seedlings. Tagging is needed, as per patient growers. You’re also allowed to have 2.5 ounces of dried cannabis per patient in any one place. Patients who opt to have a caregiver grow cannabis for them instead give up their right to grow cannabis.
Who is Currently Receiving the Most Treatment
A massive 60.24% of all patients prescribed medical marijuana are using it to manage severe debilitating, chronic pain. Another 10.92% are quelling their nausea, and post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers seeking relief and healing make up 10.75%.
Even though cannabis carries profound connections to cancer treatments, only 7.91% of marijuana prescribed in Rhode Island went to those mitigating the after effects of cancer treatment. The number of patients receiving treatment is rising faster as more people are made aware of the profound benefits. Availability is there; all that is needed is education and exposure.
Medical Marijuana Treatment in Rhode Island
At the end of March 2018, there were 18,728 active patient registrations in Rhode Island meaning that 2% of the total population of Rhode Island has sought treatment since 2015. If one compares that to the approximately 43,000 Rhode Island residents who are currently living with cancer, there is still work to be done.
The versatile scope of medicinal marijuana’s benefits makes it the ideal treatment for almost any medical condition, with more professionals across the board coming to realize the potentials of cannabis. Most supporters are confident that Rhode Island will one day include recreational use in its legislation, allowing the full legalization of marijuana.