In 2006 Rhode Island approved the use of medical marijuana for patients with debilitating conditions. These patients must have written approval from a doctor which states that the medical benefits of cannabis will outweigh the potential health hazards for that individual. Medical marijuana patients in the Ocean State are permitted to possess, use and cultivate their own medical cannabis. Patients who are diagnosed with any of the following conditions will qualify to become a medical marijuana patient:
Note: Other ailments and conditions not on this list may be approved by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Under Rhode Island's medical marijuana program patients and their caregivers are allowed to cultivate up to 12 indoor-only cannabis plants and possess 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana buds. In 2009 the state allowed the implementation of state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries, to distribute medication to patients. However, in 2011 the governor put a halt on the implementation of those dispensaries, because of the threats from the federal government. In essence the government told Rhode Island that they would become the new target of federal raids and prosecution, if they allowed these dispensaries to operate. Then, in late spring of 2012 the same governor decided he would allow 3 dispensaries to open, which would not be permitted to cultivate more than 99 mature cannabis plants, or 150 total plants.
For additional questions, comments or concerns about the medical marijuana program in Rhode Island, contact the Rhode Island Department of Health at:
As far as recreational use is concerned, Rhode Island has far different -- and drastically more severe -- penalties than any other state. Possession of any amount under 1 kilogram is a misdemeanor offense with the possibility of up to a year in jail and a $500 fine. Possession with intent to distribute 1 to 5 kilograms is a felony offense that holds a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 50 years and a $500,000 fine. Any amount over 5 kilograms for possession with intent to distribute can land a person in prison for a minimum of 25 years and a maximum sentence of LIFE. This is along with a $100,000 fine. For all offenses, anything within 300 yards of a school can hold double the original penalty.
Actual sale or cultivation of anything less than 1 kilogram will result in a felony with the potential of 30 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Selling or growing 1 to 5 kilograms is also a felony that has a minimum of 10 years behind bars, with a maximum of 50. Over 5 kilograms is a minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum of LIFE. Sale of any amount to a minor who is at least 3 years the junior of the seller has a penalty of 2 to 5 years behind bars. Penalties for hash and other concentrates are the same as marijuana.