TITLE 21
Food And Drugs

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

SECTION 21-28.6-4


§ 21-28.6-4 Protections for the medical use of marijuana.

(a) A qualifying patient cardholder who has in his or her possession a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marijuana; provided, that the qualifying patient cardholder possesses an amount of marijuana that does not exceed twelve (12) mature marijuana plants that are accompanied by valid medical marijuana tags, two and one-half (2.5) ounces of usable marijuana, or its equivalent amount, and an amount of wet marijuana to be set by regulations promulgated by the departments of health and business regulation. Said plants shall be stored in an indoor facility.

(b) An authorized purchaser who has in his or her possession a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the possession of marijuana; provided that the authorized purchaser possesses an amount of marijuana that does not exceed two and one-half (2.5) ounces of usable marijuana, or its equivalent amount, and this marijuana was purchased legally from a compassion center for the use of their designated qualifying patient.

(c) A qualifying patient cardholder, who has in his or her possession a registry identification card, shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for selling, giving, or distributing, on or before December 31, 2016 to a compassion center cardholder, marijuana of the type, and in an amount not to exceed, that set forth in subsection (a), that he or she has cultivated or manufactured pursuant to this chapter.

(d) No school, employer, or landlord may refuse to enroll, employ, or lease to, or otherwise penalize, a person solely for his or her status as a cardholder. Provided, however, due to the safety and welfare concern for other tenants, the property, and the public, as a whole, a landlord may have the discretion not to lease, or continue to lease, to a cardholder who cultivates marijuana in the leased premises.

(e) A primary caregiver cardholder, who has in his or her possession a registry identification card, shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for assisting a patient cardholder, to whom he or she is connected through the department of health's registration process, with the medical use of marijuana; provided, that the primary caregiver cardholder possesses an amount of marijuana that does not exceed twelve (12) mature marijuana plants that are accompanied by valid medical marijuana tags, two and one-half (2.5) ounces of usable marijuana, or its equivalent amount, and an amount of wet marijuana set in regulations promulgated by the departments of health and business regulation for each qualified patient cardholder to whom he or she is connected through the department of health's registration process.

(f) A qualifying patient cardholder shall be allowed to possess a reasonable amount of unusable marijuana, including up to twelve (12) seedlings that are accompanied by valid medical marijuana tags. A primary caregiver cardholder shall be allowed to possess a reasonable amount of unusable marijuana, including up to twenty-four (24) seedlings that are accompanied by valid medical marijuana tags and an amount of wet marijuana set in regulations promulgated by the departments of health and business regulation.

(g) There shall exist a presumption that a cardholder is engaged in the medical use of marijuana if the cardholder:

(1) Is in possession of a registry identification card; and

(2) Is in possession of an amount of marijuana that does not exceed the amount permitted under this chapter. Such presumption may be rebutted by evidence that conduct related to marijuana was not for the purpose of alleviating the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the medical condition.

(h) A primary caregiver cardholder may receive reimbursement for costs associated with assisting a qualifying patient cardholder's medical use of marijuana. Compensation shall not constitute sale of controlled substances.

(i) A primary caregiver cardholder, who has in his or her possession a registry identification card, shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for selling, giving, or distributing, on or before December 31, 2016 to a compassion center cardholder, marijuana, of the type, and in an amount not to exceed that set forth in subsection (e), if:

(1) The primary caregiver cardholder cultivated the marijuana pursuant to this chapter, not to exceed the limits of subsection (e); and

(2) Each qualifying patient cardholder the primary caregiver cardholder is connected with through the department of health's registration process has been provided an adequate amount of the marijuana to meet his or her medical needs, not to exceed the limits of subsection (a).

(j) A practitioner shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by the Rhode Island board of medical licensure and discipline, or by any other business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau solely for providing written certifications, or for otherwise stating that, in the practitioner's professional opinion, the potential benefits of the medical marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for a patient.

(k) Any interest in, or right to, property that is possessed, owned, or used in connection with the medical use of marijuana, or acts incidental to such use, shall not be forfeited.

(l) No person shall be subject to arrest or prosecution for constructive possession, conspiracy, aiding and abetting, being an accessory, or any other offense, for simply being in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of marijuana as permitted under this chapter, or for assisting a qualifying patient cardholder with using or administering marijuana.

(m) A practitioner, nurse, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, or pharmacist shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau solely for discussing the benefits or health risks of medical marijuana or its interaction with other substances with a patient.

(n) A qualifying patient or primary caregiver registry identification card, or its equivalent, issued under the laws of another state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia, to permit the medical use of marijuana by a patient with a debilitating medical condition, or to permit a person to assist with the medical use of marijuana by a patient with a debilitating medical condition, shall have the same force and effect as a registry identification card.

(o) Notwithstanding the provisions of § 21-28.6-4(e), no primary caregiver cardholder shall possess an amount of marijuana in excess of twenty-four (24) mature marijuana plants that are accompanied by valid medical marijuana tags and five (5) ounces of usable marijuana, or its equivalent, and an amount of wet marijuana set in regulations promulgated by the departments of health and business regulation for patient cardholders to whom he or she is connected through the department of health's registration process.

(p) A qualifying patient or primary caregiver cardholder may give marijuana to another qualifying patient or primary caregiver cardholder to whom they are not connected by the department's registration process, provided that no consideration is paid for the marijuana, and that the recipient does not exceed the limits specified in § 21-28.6-4.

(q) Qualifying patient cardholders and primary caregiver cardholders electing to grow marijuana shall only grow at one premises, and this premises shall be registered with the department of health. Except for compassion centers, cooperative cultivations, and licensed cultivators, no more than twenty-four (24) mature marijuana plants that are accompanied by valid medical marijuana tags shall be grown or otherwise located at any one dwelling unit or commercial unit. The number of qualifying patients or primary caregivers residing, owning, renting, growing, or otherwise operating at a dwelling or commercial unit does not affect this limit. The department of health shall promulgate regulations to enforce this provision.

(r) For the purposes of medical care, including organ transplants, a patient cardholder's authorized use of marijuana shall be considered the equivalent of the authorized use of any other medication used at the direction of a physician, and shall not constitute the use of an illicit substance.

(s) 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 patient cardholder or primary caregiver cardholder shall not be subject to the protections of this chapter.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2005, ch. 442, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 443, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 72, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 495, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 16, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 17, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 88, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 118, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 515, § 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 142, art. 14, § 1.)