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RI Marijuana Qualification

Updated on June 5, 2020.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Medical Marijuana Qualifications in Rhode Island

Patients in Rhode Island diagnosed with one of the following severe, debilitating, or life-threatening medical conditions, are afforded legal protection under Rhode Island’s medical marijuana law, as per Senate Bill 0710 — “Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act”:

The state’s Medical Marijuana Act permits Rhode Island residents with debilitating medical conditions to use marijuana if a physician certifies in writing that the marijuana may alleviate their symptoms and that the potential benefits of using medical marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks to the patient. This means that patients, caregivers, and authorized purchasers who are registered with the Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program may possess a limited amount of marijuana without violating state law.

Registered patients may designate one caregiver and one authorized purchaser. Individual caregivers may be responsible for up to five patients. Authorized purchasers can only be associated with one patient. There is no limit to the number of patients a compassion center may serve.

Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program: Information

  1. Patients must be over the age of eighteen (18). If a patient is under eighteen (18) years of age, the patient must designate a custodial parent or legal guardian as the primary caregiver and also sign and complete the Minor Form along with the Patient Form during the application.
  2. Patients must be a Rhode Island resident and provide proof of residency. Acceptable Documents are: Valid Driver’s License or Identification Cards issued by the State of Rhode Island, Vehicle Registration, Voters Registration, Correspondence From Another State Agency with Current Date or Current Car Insurance Bill.
  3. Patients must obtain a Written Certification Form after an evaluation. Find A Certified Practitioner In Rhode Island.
  4. The Written Certification Form must show a diagnosis of one of the Qualifying Medical Conditions listed above.
  5. Patients must then complete and sign a Patient Form and submit their Completed Application.
    • Patients must submit a Non-Refundable Application Fee of $50.00. If you are a recipient of Medicaid, SSI, SSDI, Federal Railroad Disability Benefit or Veteran’s Disability Photocopy of Medicaid Card, “ANCHOR” Card, the fee may be reduced to $25.00. Application Fee must be a Check or Money Order payable to RI General Treasurer.
  6. All applications must be mailed to Rhode Island Center For Professional Licensing Room 105A – 3 Capitol Hill Providence, RI 02908-5097. Please keep a copy of the completed Application.
  7. Once the application is submitted, the process will take two to four (2-4) weeks. Once approved, Medical Marijuana Identification Cards will be mailed to the address listed on the application.

Who Qualifies for Medicinal Marijuana in Rhode Island

While Senate Bill 0710 was initially approved in June 2005, it spent a number of years being suspended as it was vetoed and then over-ridden. Finally, in January 03, 2006, the House ultimately overrode the veto, passing the “Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act”, effectively removing all state-level criminal penalties on the use and possession of marijuana by patients in possession of a written letter from a physician stating that he or she may benefit from the medical use of marijuana for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.

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Medical Marijuana Access in Rhode Island

Some medical marijuana patients will claim they have a doctor’s prescription for medical marijuana, but marijuana prescriptions are in fact illegal. The federal government classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug. Therefore, doctors are unable to prescribe marijuana to their patients, and medical marijuana patients cannot go to a pharmacy to fill a prescription for medical marijuana. Instead, medical marijuana physicians will supply patients with a medical marijuana recommendation in compliance with state law.

Rhode Island medical marijuana law allows qualified and registered patients or appointed primary caregivers, to cultivate and possess no more than twelve cannabis plants, and five ounces of usable medical marijuana.

Considerations for Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

In April 2017, Rhode Island state legislators were considering a bill that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state. This is not only good news for recreational users, but also for patients who meet medical marijuana qualifications in Rhode Island. The reason is that if the bill becomes law, it would be much easier for people suffering from a wide range of medical issues to legally obtain medical cannabis.

One of the main reasons for the legalization push is that many state leaders want to beat the neighboring state of Massachusetts in making legal weed available to users. Recreational weed is legal in Massachusetts, but legislators recently voted to delay the opening of dispensaries until the middle of 2018 at the earliest.

Several Rhode Island state leaders believe legal pot could generate substantial tax revenues that would otherwise go to Massachusetts once dispensaries in that state open. Proponents believe that if pot were made legal in Rhode Island, it wouldn’t take very long until dispensaries would be ready to supply recreational weed.

Legislators in Rhode Island have debated the legalization of pot for the last several years but have yet to vote on the issue. Critics of the bill are concerned that certain details have yet to be ironed out, such as how edible cannabis products would be regulated.

In another major development regarding marijuana in Rhode Island, the state Superior Court was scheduled to hear a case involving a woman’s allegation that she suffered job discrimination because she is a medical marijuana user. The American Civil Liberties Union sued on the woman’s behalf, stating that the woman, a student at the University of Rhode Island, lost an internship at a fabrics store after disclosing she used medical cannabis.

If you would like to learn more about Rhode Island medical marijuana qualifications, how to obtain a medical cannabis card or anything else, turn to on a regular basis.

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Finally, a helpful & informative website! answered all of my medical marijuana questions and helped me schedule an appointment with an accredited doctor in my area.~Susan - Denver, CO