A Guide to Rhode Island Cannabis Laws
Modern medical research has discovered beneficial uses for marijuana in treating or alleviating pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with certain debilitating medical conditions, as found by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in March 1999. Several states, including Rhode Island, permit the medical use and cultivation of marijuana under certain circumstances. MORE Rhode Island’s Medical Marijuana Act does not alter federal statutes and regulations prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana.
- Adults 21 and older may:
- Possess or purchase up to one ounce of cannabis;
- Possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis in their home;
- Possess up to five grams of cannabis concentrate (not including the weight of any ingredient combined with the concentrate);
- Transfer up to one ounce of cannabis to another adult; and
- Cultivate up to three mature cannabis plants in their home, along with three additional immature plants.
Recreation Use of Marijuana by adults is legal
- Rhode Island has, as of May 25, 2022, legalized adult-use recreational marijuana. The use of cannabis is now legal everywhere cigarettes are permitted. However, note that the new law contains language that allows communities to ban or restrict smoking cannabis in public places. Rhode Islanders may possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Also any civil violations, misdemeanors, or felony convictions for cannabis possession that is now legal under the law will be expunged from court records. The law calls for retail sales to begin on December 1. As is the case with other New England states, Rhode Island has its on-water personality, it off-the-water personality, plus a few more for its urban and rural faces. The on-water parts of the state, like the sandy beaches of South County and Newport, and the rocky shoreline of Jamestown, is a huge draw for summer people. In all seasons of the year, visitors enjoy the small cities of Newport – with many original, Colonial- era buildings and street, along with sailing, mansions, and shopping on the wharves – and the capital city of Providence. Providence is getting renowned for its dining scene, juiced up by a bustling Little Italy neighborhood and the presence of a major culinary college. Visiting any of these places is delightfully enhanced, in mind and body, by a preliminary toke or nibble of cannabis. Bring your own rolling papers and bong!
State Laws Possession:
- It is legal to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in Rhode Island. Anything between one and two ounces is a civil violation, like a parking ticket.
- There are currently three medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island, located in Providence, Warwick, and Portsmouth, and these will be the first to sell legalized recreational cannabis. The new law
- also allows up to 33 new retail licenses to be distributed in six zones statewide.
Smoking in Public:
- You may smoke marijuana in public, in any place where you are allowed to smoke tobacco.
Driving Under the Influence:
- Possession while driving will result in a driver’s license suspension for a period of 6 months. This state has a drugged driving law. People may not drive a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug in their body.
Approved Qualifying Debilitating Medical Conditions
- Cancer or the treatment of this condition
- Glaucoma or the treatment of this condition
- Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or the treatment of this condition
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or the treatment of this condition
- Hepatitis C or the treatment of this condition
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe, debilitating, chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease
- Agitation related to Alzheimer’s Disease
Possession of small amounts is decriminalized
Possession of an ounce or less of cannabis is a civil penalty punishable by a citation of $150 for the first offense. The fine increases if not paid in a timely manner. If an individual receives three citations within an 18-month period, the individual may be charged with a misdemeanor.
Minors under the age of 18 are required to appear before family court and be evaluated for substance misuse disorder in addition to paying the $150 fine.
- Up to 12 plants and 12 seedlings. All marijuana must be cultivated in one location. Must be stored in an indoor facility. Two or more cardholders may cooperatively cultivate marijuana in residential or non-residential locations subject to the following restrictions: Non-residential – no more than 10 ounces of usable marijuana, 48 mature marijuana plants, and 48 seedlings. Residential – no more than 10 ounces of useable marijuana, 24 mature marijuana plants, and 24 seedlings.
Rhode Island Cannabis Tax Guide
- Medical marijuana: Purchases are subject only to the 7% statewide sales tax.
- Additionally, Rhode Island’s “compassion centers” are required to pay the state a surcharge of 4% on a monthly basis. These centers may choose to pass along this surcharge, which is effectively a tax, to their patients.
Rhode Island Advertising and Marketing Guide
No licensee or agent of a licensee may advertise in a manner which is observed by or targets the general public.
Observed by or targets the general public may include but is not limited to:
- Distributing handbills in public areas or on publicly owned property.
- Advertising within the prohibited distance of one thousand (1,000) feet (or such greater distance if prescribed by the municipality in which the advertising is located) of the property line of an existing public or private school.
- Advertising on television, radio, or print media.
- Advertising in any manner that is viewable or can otherwise be perceived in a public space, including but not limited to:
- Bus wraps, Benches;
- Adopt a highway sign; or
- Any format that may be viewable from roads or walkways.
- Engaging in any form of advertising which promotes application or enrollment into the program or the services of the practitioner or any other party which facilitates patient registration.
All advertising must be restricted to a registered patient audience. When advertising to a restricted patient audience, a licensee must not:
- Contain statements that are deceptive, false or misleading.
- Display images or representations of marijuana plants, marijuana or marijuana products.
- Display the consumption, use or transfer of marijuana or marijuana products.
- Include claims related to potency (beyond listing of cannabinoid content).
- Include any prices or the term “sale,” “discount,” “coupon,” “special” or similar terms.
- A company website may include prices of product and reference to services offered for discounted product.
- Product Menus available to patients once in the Compassion Center may show prices as well.
- Depict activities or persons in conditions under the influence of marijuana, including but not limited to:
- Operating a motorized vehicle, boat or machinery; and
- Persons who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Contain any content that can reasonably be considered to target individuals under the age of twenty-one (21), including but not limited to:
- Images of cartoons, toys or similar images;
- Images of persons under twenty-one (21) years of age;
- Items typically marketed towards persons under twenty-one (21) years of age;
- References to products that are commonly associated with persons under twenty-one (21) years of age or marketed to persons under twenty-one (21) years of age
- Any imitation of candy advertising
- Include the term “candy” or “candies”
- Encourage the transportation of marijuana or marijuana products across state lines or otherwise encourage illegal activity.
- Assert that marijuana or marijuana products are safe because they are regulated by DBR or have been tested by a testing facility or otherwise make claims that any government agency endorses or supports marijuana.
- Make claims that marijuana has curative or therapeutic effects.
- Contain any health or physical benefit claims, including but not limited to health or physical benefit claims on labels or packaging.
- Contain material that encourages excessive or rapid consumption.
- Make any deceptive, false or misleading assertions or statements on any informational material, any sign or any document provided to a patient, registered caregiver or authorized purchaser.
All Digital, Electronic and Web-based Advertising must be directed at a registered patient audience.
When using Digital, Electronic and Web-based platforms, a licensee must:
- Comply with the rules and requirements of Part 2.
- Utilize appropriate measures to ensure that individuals visiting the platform are over twenty one (21) years of age and are authorized to use and/or purchase listed products. If appropriate measures to ensure that individuals visiting the platform are over twenty- one (21) years of age are not available, the licensee shall not advertise on such a platform.
- Not utilize unsolicited pop-up or banner advertising on the platform other than on age restricted websites for people twenty-one (21) years of age and over who consent to view marijuana-related material.
- Not engage in advertising via marketing directed towards location-based devices or electronic devices, including but not limited to cellular phones, unless the marketing is:
- A mobile device application targeted to a registered patient audience and not a public audience;
- Is installed on the device by the owner of the device who is a registered patient; and
- Includes a permanent and easy opt-out feature.
Use of the licensee’s trademarks, brands, names, locations or other distinguishing characteristics by a third-party.
- The use of the licensee’s trademarks, brands, names, locations or other distinguishing characteristics for third-party use on advertising in a manner that does not comply with § 1.10 of the Regulations, or any other statute, rule or regulation is prohibited.
- In the event a third party has used a licensee’s brand, trademark, brand name, location or other distinguishing characteristics in an advertisement that does not comply with § 1.10 of this Regulations or any other statute, rule or regulation, the licensee must immediately notify DBR and issue a cease and-desist notice to such third party.