In February, Gov. Gina Raimondo proposed an annual state budget that included several amendments to Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program, including hefty new fees that alarmed patient advocates. On Tuesday, the House Finance Committee approved a budget proposal with many of Gov. Raimondo’s medical marijuana amendments, but with far lower fees.
Major provisions of Article 14 Sub A include:
— Patients and caregivers who grow medical marijuana would be required to purchase $25 “tags” for each plant from the Department of Business Regulation. Low-income and disabled patients would be exempt from paying the fee but would still need to acquire tags.
— Patients would no longer need to designate compassion centers as “caregivers” and would be permitted to purchase medical marijuana from all compassion centers.
— Cooperative cultivations (when two or more cardholders grow together) would be required to obtain a license from the Department of Business Regulation. The department would also begin issuing licenses to large-scale cultivators that would sell medical marijuana to compassion centers.
It will be important to see how these new changes, if approved, affect patients’ experience in the medical marijuana program. Overall, we are hopeful that these changes will make medical marijuana more affordable and accessible to patients.
Thank you for being an engaged participant in our movement for sensible marijuana policies. Please feel free to share this message with others to keep them updated on possible changes to Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program.
Rhode Island Political Director
Marijuana Policy Project