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Rhode Island: Medical Marijuana Law Overview and State Fines/Penalties - Archive

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Julie Gardener

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Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Law Overview​

SUMMARY:The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act took effect immediately upon passage on January 3, 2006. The law removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess "written certification" from their physician stating, "In the practitioner's professional opinion, the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient." Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cachexia; cancer; glaucoma; Hepatitis C; severe, debilitating, chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn's Disease; or agitation of Alzheimer's Disease. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Rhode Island Department of Health. Patients (and/or their primary caregivers) may legally possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and/or 12 plants, and their cannabis must be stored in an indoor facility. The law establishes a mandatory, confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients. Patients who do not register with the Department of Health, but have received certification from their physician to use medicinal cannabis, may raise an affirmative defense at trial.

RECIPROCITY: Yes. Authorizes a patient with a debilitating medical condition, with a registry identification card (or its equivalent), to engage in the medical use of marijuana. Also authorizes a person to assist with the medical use of marijuana by a patient with a debilitating medical condition. R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6-4(k) (2006).

AMENDMENTS: Yes.

In June 2007, the Rhode Island House and Senate enacted legislation eliminating the sunset clause of the The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, making the provisional program permanent

ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS: Yes.

In 2009, lawmakers enacted legislation authorizing the establishment of state-licensed not-for-profit 'compassion centers' to "acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply or dispense marijuana, or related supplies and educational materials, to registered qualifying patients and their registered primary caregivers." The Rhode Island Department of Health will oversee the licensing and regulating of these facilities. Copies of the regulations are available for public inspection in the Cannon Building, Room #201, Rhode Island Department of Health, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, Rhode Island, on the Department's website: Home: Rhode Island Department of Health or the Secretary of State's website: Office of the Secretary of State: A. Ralph Mollis: Rules and Regulations, by calling 401-222-7767 or by e-mail to Bill.Dundulis@health.ri.gov.

ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS: Yes.

In 2010, lawmakers enacted legislation, House Bill 8172, ensuring the confidentiality of medical marijuana patients' records. The law states, in part, "Applications and supporting information submitted by qualifying patients, including information regarding their primary caregivers and practitioners, are confidential and protected under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and shall be exempt from the provisions of the RIGL chapter 38-2 et seq. the Rhode Island access to public records act and not subject to disclosure, except to authorized employees of the department as necessary to perform official duties of the department."

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6 (2006).

POSSESSION/CULTIVATION: Limits the amount of marijuana that can be possessed and grown to up to 12 marijuana plants or 2.5 ounces of cultivated marijuana. Primary caregivers may not possess an amount of marijuana in excess of 24 marijuana plants and five ounces of usable marijuana for qualifying patients to whom he or she is connected through the Department's registration process.

• 2.5 oz usable; 12 plants

CAREGIVERS:Yes. The caregiver must be 21 years of age or older. Primary caregiver may assist no more than 5 qualifying patients with their medical use of marijuana. R.I. Gen. Laws 1956, §21-28.6-3 (9) (2006).

PATIENT REGISTRATION FEE: $75/$10 for applicants on Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

• Registration: Mandatory

For more detailed information and Becoming a Patient in Rhode Island



Rhode Island Marijuana Penalties​

Possession

♦ Less than 1 kg - misdemeanor Incarceration 1 year Fine $200 - $500

♦ 1 kg to 5 kg - felony Incarceration 10 years Fine $10,000 -$500,000

♦ More than 5 kg - felony Incarceration 20 years Fine $25,000 -$100,000

♦ Within 300 yards of a school, public park or playground - felony Incarceration double penalty Fine double penalty

♦ Possession while driving causes driver's license suspension for 6 months (first offense), and 1 year (subsequent offense).


Sale or Cultivation

♦ Less than 1 kg - felony Incarceration 30 years Fine $3,000 - $100,000

♦ 1 kg to 5 kg - felony Incarceration 10 years Fine $10,000 - $500,000

♦ More than 5 kg - felony Incarceration 20 years Fine $25,000 - $100,000

♦ Delivery to a minor 3 years younger - felony Incarceration 2 - 5 years Fine $10,000

♦ Within 300 yards of a school, public park or playground - felony Incarceration double penalty Fine double penalty


Miscellaneous (paraphernalia, license suspensions, drug tax stamps, etc...)

For sentences of probation with no imprisonment, the offender is required to undergo a drug abuse evaluation, attend a drug education course and perform 100 hours of community service.


Details

Possession of less than one kilogram of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $200 - $500.

Driving while in possession of marijuana is penalized by suspension of the offender's driver's license for six months for the first offense and for one year for subsequent offenses.

Manufacture or delivery of less than one kilogram of marijuana is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $3,000 - $100,000. Delivery to a minor at least three years younger than the offender adds an additional 2 - 5 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Sale or possession within 300 yards of a school, public park or playground doubles the possible penalties.

A new law eliminating mandatory minimum drug sentences in Rhode Island has taken effect without the governor's signature. The new law, which took effect December 2009, leaves the sentence to the judge's discretion.
For sentences of probation with no imprisonment, the offender is required to undergo a drug abuse evaluation, attend a drug education course and perform 100 hours of community service.

Medical marijuana: This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective.

Drugged driving: This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have any detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific threshold.

Marijuana tax stamps: This state has a marijuana tax stamp law enacted. This law mandates that those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction.

Warning: The information contained in this report is for informational purposes only. Individuals are encouraged to confirm their state's laws before engaging in any particular behavior, or before going to court without a lawyer. Marijuana laws and penalties change rapidly and are enforced and interpreted differently even in the same legal jurisdiction. Please consult a criminal defense lawyer if you have been busted or if you want to know how a particular conduct might be punished. If you spot an error or have information that should be included please let us know.

Source: NORML

Be informed and be well.
:Namaste:

See Rhode Island: Medical Marijuana Law Overview and State Fines/Penalties for more up to date information regarding state laws and penalties.
 
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