As of May 25, 2022, Governor Dan McKee signed the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, which legalizes the use of cannabis for adults. Effective immediately, the law allows anyone aged 21 and over to possess up to 1 oz of cannabis and grow six plants (only three of which can be mature) for personal use. Possession of between 1 oz and 2 oz of cannabis has been decriminalized. A household may have up to 10 oz of cannabis on the premises. Retail locations opened on December 1, 2022.
Possession of larger amounts can still carry severe penalties. Possession of between 2 oz and 1 kg of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense punishable by incarceration of up to 1 year and a $500 fine. Possession or cultivation of more than 1 kg is a felony. Possession or cultivation of 1-5 kg of marijuana carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum sentence of 50 years, and a maximum fine of $500,000. Possession or cultivation of more than 5 kg carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison, a maximum sentence of life, and a fine of $1,000,000.
Despite these extremely stern penalties, participants in Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program can possess up to 2.5 oz and to grow 12 plants and 12 seedlings, provided it is all grown in one location and stored in an indoor facility. Medical marijuana was legalized in Rhode Island in 2006.
To recommend marijuana in Rhode Island medical professionals must be licensed to practice in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, or Connecticut; have a practitioner-patient relationship with the patient; and provide written certification to the patient. They can recommend marijuana for the following qualifying conditions:
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Autism spectrum disorder
• Chronic pain
• Crohn’s disease
• Hepatitis C
• Persistent muscle spasms
• PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
Rhode Island allows patients from other jurisdictions to possess and even purchase marijuana from the state’s dispensaries.
For more information about Rhode Island’s program, please see the state’s Department of Health website: https://health.ri.gov/licenses/detail.php?id=280.