Rhode Island has already become one of the more progressive states in regard to marijuana policy reform. The state has a strong medical marijuana program in place and has decriminalized simple possession of recreational marijuana.
Recreational Marijuana in Rhode Island
Like many progressive states, Rhode Island has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for individuals 18 years and older. Those caught with less than 1 ounce are subject only to a $150 fine, with no possibility of incarceration or record of a crime being committed. Possession of more than 1 ounce up to 1 kilogram is still a misdemeanor, but possession of greater amounts is considered “intent to distribute” and charged as a felony. Unregistered cultivation and sale of any amount of marijuana are also felonies.
Medical Marijuana in Rhode Island
Medical marijuana has been legal in Rhode Island since January 3rd of 2006, after state lawmakers overturned Gov. Don Carcieri’s veto of Senate Bill 710. The law allows patients with approved conditions to register with the state and legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana. Under the law, patients are also legally allowed to cultivate up to 12 plants and 12 seedlings.
In July 2016, Gov. Gina Raimondo signed a law expanding the medical marijuana list of approved conditions to include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In October 2018, the Department of Health announced that Rhode Island families can now access medical marijuana to treat autism.
There are currently three medical marijuana dispensaries, referred to as compassion centers, operating in Rhode Island.
Medical marijuana is now approved for the following conditions:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Severe, Debilitating or Chronic Pain
- Seizure Disorders and Epilepsy
- Severe and Persistent Muscle Spasms
- Severe Nausea
CBD from Hemp Oil in Rhode Island
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation and Distribution of Cannabis in Rhode Island
The cultivation of cannabis for personal or medical purposes is still a serious crime in Pennsylvania. Growing just 1 or 2 plants is a misdemeanor that can warrant a jail sentence of 6 months to 2 years and fines of $500 to $2000.
In July 2016, Gov. Raimondo signed House Bill 8232, which legalized the production and processing of industrial hemp for commercial purposes in the state. The bill was to initially apply only to state-licensed representatives of the Narragansett Indian Tribe, but was amended to apply to everybody. The bill went into effect January 1, 2017.
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