QUALIFYING PATIENTS IN RHODE ISLAND
To start the process of becoming a medical cannabis patient, first talk to your doctor about treatment with cannabis for one of the eligible conditions listed below. If they agree to certify you, they will fill out a form and return it to you. Keep this form handy as you will have to submit it with the rest of your application.
You must be a resident of Rhode Island and provide proof of this in your application. The following are acceptable documents: copy of a RI Driver's License, RI State ID, vehicle registration, voters registration, correspondence from another state agency with a current date or a current car insurance bill. Your name, current address, and current date must appear on the document you submit as proof of residency.
There will be a one time non-refundable $50 application fee payable by check or money order made out to the Rhode Island General Treasurer. This fee will be reduced to $25 if you can provide proof of your enrollment in Medicaid, SSI, SSDI, Federal Railroad Disability benefit, or Veteran's disability.
If you are diagnosed with one of the following conditions, you may be eligible for physician certification as a patient in Rhode Island:
- 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
Becoming a Patient as a Minor:
If you are under the age of 18 in Rhode Island and wish to become a patient, you must have permission from a parent or legal guardian. They must serve as your primary caregiver and will be responsible for monitoring and administering your treatment as well as acquiring your medicine.
Benefits of Being a Patient:
If you are a registered patient arrested for possession of cannabis in Rhode Island, you will have an affirmative defense in court. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against you or terminate you on the grounds of your enrollment in the medical cannabis program. A landlord cannot evict you or deny you housing because of your enrollment in the medical cannabis program.
Becoming a Caregiver:
Patients may also designate "an authorized purchaser" to assist in purchasing and delivering cannabis from a compassion center. Each authorized purchaser can only assist one patient. An authorized purchaser must be 21 years old and satisfy a National Criminal Identification Check. An authorized purchaser may live Out-of-State. Patients are limited to one authorized purchaser.
Rhode Island respects Out-of-State cannabis registrations and allows visiting patients to shop at in state dispensaries. If you visit will receive the same legal protections as a registered patient in Rhode Island. For more information about traveling as a medical cannabis patient, check out our Travel Guide.
If you wish to grow cannabis at home, you may indicate this on your patient application. You will have to provide a grow location and purchase plant tags from the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation. You are permitted to grow up to twelve plants at home. Caregivers may be designated to grow on a patient's behalf as well.
In 2017, anyone with a first offense (low-level cannabis conviction) was made able to petition the court for expungement of their criminal records, related to convictions that have been decriminalized. Following a court hearing and the payment of all existing fines/fees, expungement should be granted. For more information refer to the website of the Rhode Island Office of Cannabis Regulation.
Medical cannabis patients can find additional resources here
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