TITLE 21
Food And Drugs

CHAPTER 21-28.6
The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act

SECTION 21-28.6-16


§ 21-28.6-16. Licensed medical marijuana cultivators.

(a) A licensed medical marijuana cultivator licensed under this section may acquire, possess, manufacture, cultivate, deliver, or transfer medical marijuana to licensed compassion centers, to another licensed medical marijuana cultivator. A licensed medical marijuana cultivator shall not be a primary caregiver cardholder registered with any qualifying patient(s) and shall not hold a cooperative cultivation license. Except as specifically provided to the contrary, all provisions of this chapter (the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater medical marijuana act), apply to a licensed medical marijuana cultivator unless they conflict with a provision contained in this section.

(b) Licensing of medical marijuana cultivators -- Department of business regulation authority. The department of business regulation shall promulgate regulations governing the manner in which it shall consider applications for the licensing of medical marijuana cultivators, including regulations governing:

(1) The form and content of licensing and renewal applications;

(2) Minimum oversight requirements for licensed medical marijuana cultivators;

(3) Minimum record-keeping requirements for cultivators;

(4) Minimum security requirements for cultivators; and

(5) Procedures for suspending, revoking, or terminating the license of cultivators who or that violate the provisions of this section or the regulations promulgated pursuant to this subsection.

(c) A licensed medical marijuana cultivator license issued by the department of business regulation shall expire one year after it was issued and the licensed medical marijuana cultivator may apply for renewal with the department in accordance with its regulations pertaining to licensed medical marijuana cultivators.

(d) The department of business regulation shall promulgate regulations that govern how many marijuana plants, mature and immature; how much wet marijuana; and how much usable marijuana a licensed medical marijuana cultivator may possess. Every marijuana plant possessed by a licensed medical marijuana cultivator must be accompanied by a valid medical marijuana tag issued by the department of business regulation pursuant to § 21-28.6-15 or catalogued in a seed-to-sale inventory tracking system in accordance with regulations promulgated by the department of business regulation.

(e) Medical marijuana cultivators shall only sell marijuana to compassion centers, another licensed medical marijuana cultivator. All marijuana possessed by a cultivator in excess of the possession limit established pursuant to subsection (d) of this section shall be under formal agreement to be purchased by a marijuana establishment. If the excess marijuana is not under formal agreement to be purchased, the cultivator will have a period of time, specified in regulations promulgated by the department of business regulation, to sell or destroy that excess marijuana. The department may suspend and/or revoke the cultivator's license and the license of any officer, director, employee, or agent of the cultivator and/or impose an administrative penalty in accordance with the regulations promulgated by the department for any violation of this section or the regulations. In addition, any violation of this section or the regulations promulgated pursuant to this subsection and subsection (d) of this section shall cause a licensed medical marijuana cultivator to lose the protections described in subsection (m) of this section and may subject the licensed medical marijuana cultivator to arrest and prosecution under Chapter 28 of this title (the Rhode Island controlled substances act).

(f) Medical marijuana cultivators shall be subject to any regulations promulgated by the department of health or department of business regulation that specify how marijuana must be tested for items, including, but not limited to, potency, cannabinoid profile, and contaminants.

(g) Medical marijuana cultivators shall be subject to any product labeling requirements promulgated by the department of business regulation and the department of health.

(h) Notwithstanding any other provisions of the general laws, the manufacture of marijuana using a solvent extraction process that includes the use of a compressed, flammable gas as a solvent by a licensed medical marijuana cultivator shall not be subject to the protections of this chapter.

(i) Medical marijuana cultivators shall only be licensed to grow marijuana at a single location registered with the department of business regulation and the department of public safety. The department of business regulation may promulgate regulations governing where cultivators are allowed to grow. Medical marijuana cultivators must abide by all local ordinances, including zoning ordinances.

(j) Inspection. Medical marijuana cultivators shall be subject to reasonable inspection by the department of business regulation or the department of health for the purposes of enforcing regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter and all applicable Rhode Island general laws.

(k) The cultivator applicant, unless he or she is an employee with no equity, ownership, financial interest, or managing control, shall apply to the bureau of criminal identification of the department of attorney general, department of public safety division of state police, or local police department for a national criminal records check that shall include fingerprints submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Upon the discovery of any disqualifying information as defined in subsection (k)(2) of this section, and in accordance with the rules promulgated by the director of the department of business regulation, the bureau of criminal identification of the department of attorney general, department of public safety division of state police, or the local police department shall inform the applicant, in writing, of the nature of the disqualifying information; and, without disclosing the nature of the disqualifying information, shall notify the department of business regulation, in writing, that disqualifying information has been discovered.

(1) In those situations in which no disqualifying information has been found, the bureau of criminal identification of the department of attorney general, department of public safety division of state police, or the local police department shall inform the applicant and the department of business regulation, in writing, of this fact.

(2) Information produced by a national criminal records check pertaining to a conviction for a felony drug offense or a plea of nolo contendere for a felony drug offense and received a sentence of probation shall result in a letter to the applicant and the department of business regulation disqualifying the applicant.

(3) Except for employees with no ownership, equity, financial interest, or managing control of a marijuana establishment license, the cultivator applicant shall be responsible for any expense associated with the national criminal records check.

(l) Persons issued medical marijuana cultivator licenses shall be subject to the following:

(1) A licensed medical marijuana cultivator cardholder shall notify and request approval from the department of business regulation of any change in his or her name or address within ten (10) days of the change. A cultivator cardholder who fails to notify the department of business regulation of any of these changes is responsible for a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of no more than one hundred fifty dollars ($150).

(2) When a licensed medical marijuana cultivator cardholder notifies the department of business regulation of any changes listed in this subsection (l), the department of business regulation shall issue the cultivator cardholder a new registry identification card after the department approves the changes and receives from the licensee payment of a fee specified in regulation.

(3) If a licensed medical marijuana cultivator cardholder loses his or her card, he or she shall notify the department of business regulation and submit a fee specified in regulation within ten (10) days of losing the card. The department of business regulation shall issue a new card with a new random identification number.

(4) A licensed medical marijuana cultivator cardholder shall notify the department of business regulation of any disqualifying criminal convictions as defined in subsection (k)(2) of this section. The department of business regulation may choose to suspend and/or revoke his or her card after the notification.

(5) If a licensed medical marijuana cultivator or cultivator cardholder violates any provision of this chapter or regulations promulgated hereunder as determined by the department of business regulation, his or her card and the issued license may be suspended and/or revoked.

(m) Immunity:

(1) No licensed medical marijuana cultivator shall be subject to: prosecution; search, except by the departments pursuant to subsection (j) of this section; seizure; or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business, occupational, or professional licensing board or entity, solely for acting in accordance with this section.

(2) No licensed medical marijuana cultivator shall be subject to prosecution, seizure, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business, occupational, or professional licensing board or entity, for selling, giving, or distributing marijuana in whatever form and within the limits established by the department of business regulation to a licensed compassion center.

(3) No principal officers, board members, agents, volunteers, or employees of a licensed medical marijuana cultivator shall be subject to arrest, prosecution, search, seizure, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business, occupational, or professional licensing board or entity, solely for working for or with a licensed medical marijuana cultivator to engage in acts permitted by this section.

(4) No state employee shall be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty, disciplinary action, termination, or loss of employee or pension benefits, for any and all conduct that occurs within the scope of his or her employment regarding the administration, execution, and/or enforcement of this act, and the provisions of §§ 9-31-8 and 9-31-9 shall be applicable to this section.

(n) License required. No person or entity shall engage in activities described in this section without a medical marijuana cultivator license issued by the department of business regulation.

(o) Effective July 1, 2019, the department of business regulation will not reopen the application period for new medical marijuana cultivator licenses.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2016, ch. 142, art. 14, § 2; P.L. 2019, ch. 88, art. 15, § 5.)