Thanks to the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Act, qualifying patients are able to alleviate medical symptoms with cannabis. However, since cannabis isn’t legal on a recreational level in Rhode Island yet, people interested in cannabis for medical purposes will need a medical marijuana card for purchasing or possessing cannabis.
The good news is that, once you have a medical card in hand, you’ll be able to purchase cannabis at any of Rhode Island’s three state-sanctioned compassion centers. Use this guide to understand medical marijuana and how to get your Rhode Island medical marijuana card.
An overview of Rhode Island medical cannabis
Recreational use still isn’t allowed under Rhode Island state law (but up-and-coming legislation in 2020 may change that). However, Rhode Island has decriminalized possessing less than 1 ounce of cannabis. You can expect to pay a $150 fine for possessing cannabis without a medical card. You can face jail time if you have more than 1 ounce of cannabis.
If you’re using cannabis to treat a medical condition, don’t open yourself up to fines or legal action. Applying for a medical marijuana card in Rhode Island is a straightforward process. Stay compliant and get your cannabis through the state.
Once you have your Rhode Island Medical Marijuana card, you’re allowed to:
- Possess 70 grams (or 2.5 ounces) of cannabis every 15 days.
- Designate a caregiver (this is usually for children or the elderly).
- Designate an authorized purchaser (a person who is authorized to purchase cannabis on your behalf).
- Grow up to 12 plants and 12 seedlings for personal use. The state requires you to complete additional registration if you want to grow your own.
A Rhode Island medical card is valid for one year after issuance. But don’t worry—the state will mail you a renewal form at least a month before its expiration.
4 steps to get your Rhode Island medical marijuana card
Fortunately, there’s minimal red tape when applying for your medical marijuana card. Follow these 4 steps to get yours.
1. See your doctor
You’ll need to have a qualifying medical condition to use cannabis. That includes conditions like:
- Hepatitis C
- Chronic pain
- Chronic nausea
- Seizures and epilepsy
- Multiple sclerosis, or severe muscle spasms
- Crohn’s Disease
You’ll need to make an appointment to meet with a doctor, who will verify your medical history and diagnosis. You can meet with a certified MD, PA, or APRN to fill out the Practitioner Written Certification Form. This form states that the doctor agrees cannabis would alleviate your symptoms and that the benefits outweigh any potential for harm.
These doctor visits can cost $99 – $300 per visit. Some doctors will offer discounts for people on SSI and SSDI, too. You can expect the whole process to cost $350 at most (including doctor’s fees and the application), but some patients pay as little as $75 depending on their situation.
You’ll also need to bring a state-issued ID and the Patient Application Form with you to the visit. If your doctor refuses to certify the form, you can always seek out a second opinion.
Once your doctor fills out the Practitioner Written Certification Form, you need to apply. Download the Rhode Island Patient Application Form online, print it out, and mail it to the state. Make sure you’re sending in the original documentation, and not a photocopy. Also, don’t forget to include a valid phone number and email on your application; you want the state to be able to reach you!
There’s a $50 application fee, but if you receive Medicaid, SSI, disability income, or veterans benefits, you may qualify for a reduced $25 application fee.
3. Wait for approval
Fortunately, you won’t have to wait for months to hear back about your medical marijuana application. The state usually issues decisions within 10 business days.
If the Health Department accepts your application, they’ll ask you to schedule an in-person meeting. And yes, you have to go in-person for the meeting. The Health Department will take your photo during the appointment, which you’ll use for your medical marijuana card.
4. Visit a state-certified compassion center
The hard part’s over! Once the Health Department issues your medical marijuana card, it’s valid for one year. Use this card any time you need to purchase cannabis from a compassion center like Greenleaf.
The bottom line
Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program offers much-needed relief to patients across the state. Use this guide to understand Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program and how you can legally alleviate your medical condition with cannabis. Alleviate your medical condition with clean, tested medicinal cannabis in a safe, secure, and welcoming environment at Greenleaf.