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How to get a medical card in Rhode Island
Medical marijuana use was legalized in the state of Rhode Island in 2006 with the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act. This means that a qualifying patient can purchase medicinal cannabis from a designated compassion center if they have a state-issued medical marijuana ID.
Rhode Islanders with debilitating medical conditions may use medical cannabis if a licensed doctor certifies that:
- Marijuana may ease their symptoms
- The potential benefits of using medical marijuana would outweigh the health risks to the patient
How to get a medical marijuana card in Rhode Island
There are a few steps required to get a medical marijuana card that will be accepted at the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries. Let’s go through everything you need to know about participating in Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program.
What documents are required?
In short, you need to provide:
- Practitioner written certification form (completed by your doctor)
- Proof of Rhode Island residency
- Completed and signed patient form (completed by you)
- Non-refundable application fee
Step-1: Visit a verified physician
The first step in applying for a medical card in RI is visiting a physician to determine if you have a qualifying condition.
Qualifying Debilitating Medical Conditions
Medical conditions that can qualify you for a medical marijuana card in Rhode Island include:
- Cancer or the treatment of this condition
- Glaucoma or the treatment of this condition
- Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or 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, or 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
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (patient must be 18 years or older)
Your doctor will fill the “Practitioner Written Certification Form” if you qualify to be a medical marijuana patient. The form must be completed and signed by one of the following practitioner types:
- Advanced Practice Nurse, Physician Assistant or Physician (MD, DO) licensed to practice in RI, or
- Physician (MD, DO) licensed to practice in MA or CT
Step-2: Proof of Rhode Island residency
There are several documents that can be accepted as proof of residency:
- RI Driver’s License
- RI ID Card
- Vehicle registration
- Voter registration
- Correspondence with a state agency
- Current car insurance bill
The document needs to show your current address, name, and date within 30 days of your application.
You are also required to visit the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) office to have your photograph taken for the ID card, at which time you must present a current RI Driver’s license or RI State ID.
Step-3: Complete and Sign a Patient Form
You can find the patient form here.
Step-4: Medical Marijuana Card Fee
The cost of a medical marijuana card in Rhode Island is $50, with a $25 discount for qualified patients who are receiving Medicaid, veterans’ disability, federal railroad disability, SSI or SSDI.
How long does it take to get a medical marijuana card in Rhode Island?
After you’ve submitted your patient application, it usually takes between two to four weeks for your medical marijuana registration card to be approved.
How to renew a medical card in Rhode Island
Renewing your medical card in Rhode Island can be done through a form that’s obtained by emailing the Medical Marijuana Program at [email protected].
Caregivers & authorized purchasers
Who are caregivers & authorized purchasers?
Medical marijuana cardholders in Rhode Island can register one caregiver and one authorized purchaser to help them buy cannabis products.
Both caregivers and authorized purchasers are required to:
- Be 21 years of age or older
- Pass a criminal background check
- Live in Rhode Island and provide one of the following forms of documentation:
- Rhode Island driver’s license
- State ID
- Any correspondence from another state agency, current vehicle registration, car insurance bill or voter registration.
- Pay the non-refundable caregiver application fee. The fee is $100 or $25 if you send proof with your application that you receive one of these benefits: Medicaid, veterans’ disability, federal railroad disability, SSI or SSDI.
How many caregivers can I have?
If you’re a registered medical cannabis patient in RI, you can have one registered caregiver and one authorized purchaser.
How can a caregiver help me?
Medical cannabis caregivers can purchase medical marijuana products at licensed dispensaries for up to five patients. They can also grow medical cannabis within state guidelines and provide it to their registered patients.
What is the difference between caregivers and authorized purchasers?
A primary caregiver cardholder can buy marijuana from a compassion center or grow their own and have up to five patients.
An authorized purchaser can only buy marijuana at a compassion center and have one qualified patient.
More Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I legally buy medical marijuana in Rhode Island?
You can legally buy medical marijuana in Rhode Island at one of the state’s compassion centers.
What forms and dosage amounts of medical marijuana are allowed?
Medical cannabis patients can buy up to 2.5 ounces of smokeable marijuana (“flower”) in any 30-day period in Rhode Island. You can also purchase marijuana-infused products, including edibles, tinctures, concentrates and topical products.
Does Rhode Island Medicaid cover medical marijuana?
No, Medicaid in Rhode Island doesn’t cover medical marijuana.
Can I go to a dispensary without a card in Rhode Island?
Unfortunately, no, you can’t go to a dispensary without a card in Rhode Island. Only registered caregivers and patients can go to dispensaries in RI.
How easy is it to get a medical card in Rhode Island?
If you have a qualifying condition, it isn’t hard to get a medical card in RI.
Does Rhode Island take out-of-state medical cards?
If you have an out-of-state medical marijuana card and valid, current identification, your card can be accepted at RI dispensaries.
Who is eligible to become a medical cannabis patient in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island residents who have qualifying medical conditions are eligible to become medical cannabis patients.
Can I get fired for having a medical card in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island doesn’t make employers accommodate medical marijuana users. You could be fired for having a medical card in Rhode Island.
Is marijuana legal in Rhode Island?
Medical cannabis use is legal in Rhode Island. The legalization of recreational marijuana is still in progress as of late 2021.
Can you get a medical marijuana card online in Rhode Island?
No. You need to submit your application for a medical card in Rhode Island through the U.S. Mail.
Can I use my Rhode Island medical card in another state?
You can use your Rhode Island medical marijuana card in another state that has reciprocity, which means the state will accept out-of-state cards.
Can veterans get medical cannabis?
Veterans can get medical cannabis as long as they have a qualifying condition.
- Medical Marijuana: Department of Health
- Medical Marijuana Program: Department of Health
- Medical Marijuana Licensing: Department of Health
- Chapter 28.6 The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act
- Instructions and Application For Initial Registration As A Medical Marijuana Patient
- The Medical Marijuana Program: Requirements for Medical Marijuana Patients
- Medical Marijuana Information for Patients and Caregivers: Department of Health
- The Medical Marijuana Program, Frequently Asked Questions for Patients and Caregivers
- The Medical Marijuana Program: Requirements for Caregivers