Medical Marijuana Information for Patients & Caregivers
The state's Medical Marijuana Act permits Rhode Island residents with debilitating medical conditions to use marijuana if a physician certifies in writing that the marijuana may alleviate their symptoms and that the potential benefits of using medical marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks to the patient. This means that patients, caregivers, and authorized purchasers who are registered with the Department of Health's Medical Marijuana Program may possess a limited amount of marijuana without violating state law.
Registered patients may designate one caregiver and one authorized purchaser. Individual caregivers may be responsible for up to five patients. Authorized purchasers can only be associated with one patient. There is no limit to the number of patients a compassion center may serve.
What Patients Should Do
- Check with your doctor to see if your medical condition qualifies for an application and to see if medical marijuana makes sense for you. If it does have your doctor fill out a Practitioner Form to allow you to apply
- Register as a Medical Marijuana Patient using the patient application form Application forms will not be accepted via email or fax. The phone number or email address will be used to schedule a photo identification card if your application is approved.
- Determine if you are eligible for reduced application fee. Recipients of Medicaid, Supplemental
Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), Federal Railroad Disability benefit or Veterans' Disability are eligible for reduced application fee. Provide one of the following as proof: photocopy of your Medicaid Card (example) or your letter or other proof that you are a recipient of SSI (example), SSDI (example) or Veterans' Disability (example). Proof must accompany the application to be eligible for the reduced fee. Verification of your SSI or SSDI eligibility can be obtatined at Social Security Administration.
- Designate a Caregiver. You may designate a caregiver. Parents are [usually] designated on behalf of children younger than 18 years old.You may also visit any of the three (3) Rhode Island Compassion Centers without having to register.
- Designate an Authorized Purchaser.
- Keep your information up to date. Use the Patient Information Change Form if you wish to change your registered caregivers or if you move.
- Use Medical Marijuana Responsibly. Follow your doctor's instructions on how to use the medication and be aware that you may not share the marijuana with others for any reason.
- Order a replacement registration card when yours is lost or stolen. The fee for a replacement registration card is $10 (check or money order only) and a valid RI Driver’s License or valid RI State ID must be presented. Photos for replacement cards are by appointment only. Call 401-222-3752 to make an appointment to have your photo taken. You must have an appointment to get a photo taken at the Department of Health. No walk-ins will be accepted without an appointment.
What Caregivers Should Do
- Get Designated. Work with the patient to determine who is/are the most appropriate caregiver(s). new patient application Note that caregiver information is always provided by the patient. The application includes information on required background checks and application fees for caregivers.
- Be Responsible. Once you are designated, you are responsible to make sure the patient gets the medication the doctor recommends and that no one else uses it.
What all Applicants Must Do
- Renew your application. The renewal application for patient, caregiver, and authorized purchaser will be mailed to the patient 60 days prior to the expiration of the registration.