Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program
The Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Laws were signed in 2006. Last week, there was a medical cannabis festival celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Rhode Island medical marijuana program. RI’s Department of Health administers the provisions of the state’s Medical Marijuana Act and related Regulations. Rhode Island medical cards can only be obtained by patients suffering from debilitating conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. Rhode Island is one of the Medical Marijuana states that allows home cultivation. Patients are allowed to have 12 plants and 12 seedlings at a time, but all marijuana must be cultivated in one location and stored in an indoor facility. Two or more cardholders may also cooperatively cultivate marijuana in RI.
We go into detail about the Medical Marijuana laws in Rhode Island and show you how to obtain a medical card in Rhode Island.
How do you apply to the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program?
To apply for a medical marijuana license, you must have proof of Rhode Island residency and one of the qualifying medical conditions. Your doctor must then sign a practitioner form which is part of the application for a medical marijuana license. The application must be printed out from the Department of Health’s website and before signing an application, your doctor must complete a physical examination, check your past year’s medical records to determine whether or not you qualify. There is a $100 application fee which is reduced to $25 for patients with Medicaid, SSI, SSDI, or a disabled veteran. There is a separate form for anyone under the age of 18, so technically anyone can apply.
Who qualifies for medical marijuana in Rhode Island?
Anyone with any of the conditions listed below should qualify for medical marijuana in RI.
- Positive status for HIV
- Hepatitis C
- Severe, debilitating, chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe muscle spasms
- Agitation related to Alzheimer’s disease
Can the list of qualifying conditions be added to?
The RI list of qualifying conditions can be added to. In fact, last month the Governor of Rhode Island signed a PTSD bill which added PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for the RI medical marijuana program.
Where can you find a medical marijuana doctor in RI?
Any RI physician in good standing can register with the Department of Health’s medical marijuana program. This does not mean that every doctor will recommend medical marijuana to you even if you have a debilitating condition. Doctors are accustomed to prescribing medications that are approved by the FDA, and some won’t recommend smoking of any kind to their patients for liability reasons.
Where are the medical cannabis dispensaries in Rhode Island?
There are three dispensaries in RI because that is all the States law allows for. They can be found in Warwick, Providence, and Portsmouth, Rhode Island. With the small size of the state and home cultivation being allowed, three dispensaries should be enough for Rhode Island residents.
What does my medical card get me at an RI dispensary?
Walking into a Rhode Island dispensary, you’ll see most marijuana products available to you. There’s smokeable flower, extracts, edibles, and even topicals. One thing you’ll notice is that Butane Hash Oil or BHO is not available. Any solvents that contain flammable gas are illegal for use during the extraction process. So all extracts in Rhode Island are made with no harmful solvents like butane. Instead, they’re made mainly with the rosin technique which just applies heat and pressure to marijuana flowers to extract oils. This is safer for both makers and users of extracts.
Are Rhode Island medical marijuana patients shielded from discrimination?
According to RI’s medical marijuana law, “no school, employer, or landlord may refuse to enroll, employ, or lease to or otherwise penalize a person solely for his or her status as a card holder.” Employers have no obligation to accommodate the medical use of marijuana at the work place.
What is the future of the Medical Marijuana Program in RI?
The rules and regulations have been updated several times since the medical marijuana law was put in place and will likely continue to change. There are still changes going into effect at the start of next year in RI like new qualifying conditions. The state has reached it’s cap for dispensaries until the laws change to allow more.