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 cultivators.

(a) A licensed cultivator licensed under this section may acquire, possess, cultivate, deliver, or transfer marijuana to licensed compassion centers. A licensed cultivator shall not be a primary caregiver cardholder and shall not hold a cooperative cultivation license. Except as specifically provided to the contrary, all provisions of the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, §§ 21-28.6-1 – 21-28.6-15, apply to a licensed cultivator unless they conflict with a provision contained in § 21-28.6-16.

(b) Licensing of 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 cultivators, including regulations governing:

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

(2) Minimum oversight requirements for licensed 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 that violate the provisions of this section or the regulations promulgated pursuant to this subsection.

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

(d) The department of business regulation shall promulgate regulations that govern how many marijuana plants, how many marijuana seedlings, how much wet marijuana, and how much usable marijuana a licensed cultivator may possess. Every marijuana plant possessed by a licensed cultivator must be accompanied by valid medical marijuana tag issued by the department of business regulation pursuant to § 21-28.6-15. Each cultivator must purchase at least one medical marijuana tag in order to remain a licensed cultivator.

(e) Cultivators shall only sell marijuana to compassion centers. All marijuana possessed by a cultivator in excess of the possession limit established pursuant to subsection (d) shall be under formal agreement to be purchased by a compassion center. If such 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 such cultivator and/or impose an administrative penalty in accordance with such 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) shall cause a licensed cultivator to lose the protections described in subsection (m) and may subject the licensed cultivator to arrest and prosecution under Chapter 28 of title 21 (the Rhode Island Controlled Substances Act).

(f) 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) 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 cultivator shall not be subject to the protections of this chapter.

(i) 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. Cultivators must abide by all local ordinances, including zoning ordinances.

(j) Inspection. 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 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 subdivision (k)(2), 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) The cultivator applicant shall be responsible for any expense associated with the national criminal records check.

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

(1) A licensed cultivator 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 such change. A cultivator 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 cultivator notifies the department of business regulation of any changes listed in this subsection, the department of business regulation shall issue the cultivator a new license after the department approves the changes and receives from the licensee payment of a fee specified in regulation.

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

(4) A licensed cultivator shall notify the department of business regulation of any disqualifying criminal convictions as defined in subdivision (k)(2). The department of business regulation may choose to suspend and/or revoke his or her license after such notification.

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

(m) Immunity:

(1) No licensed cultivator shall be subject to prosecution; search, except by the departments pursuant to subsection (j); 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 to assist registered qualifying;

(2) No licensed 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 registered compassion center;

(3) No principal officers, board members, agents, volunteers, or employees of a licensed 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 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.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2016, ch. 142, art. 14, § 2.)