Rhode Island Gun Rights for Medical Cannabis Patients
Table of Contents
The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act was passed in 2006, and permits in-state patients with a Rhode Island registry ID card to consume, possess, and cultivate medical marijuana.
The Medical Marijuana Program of the Rhode Island Department of Health is in charge of carrying out the state’s Medical Marijuana Act and Regulations.
The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulations Office of Cannabis Regulation is in charge of approving and regulating compassion centers, cultivators, and joint cultivations. It is also in charge of making sure that medical marijuana plants are tagged correctly.
They are also in charge of licensing and keeping an eye on how industrial hemp is grown and handled, as well as how CBD products are sold and distributed.
In 2009, the Rhode Island Department of Health got permission to give licenses to non-profit compassion centers to sell medical marijuana.
But it took the state almost seven years after the law was passed to let people with medical marijuana cards into dispensaries.
Patients only started getting access to medical marijuana from compassion centers in 2013, when Rhode Island’s first medical marijuana dispensary — the huge Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center — opened.
A person can become a medical marijuana patient if his or her doctor certifies that the person has one or more of the following conditions:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Hepatitis C
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe and debilitating chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristics of Multiple Sclerosis or Crohn’s disease
- A method used in the extraction of kief and hash, where cann... related to Alzheimer’s disease
Patients who are registered can name one caregiver and one approved purchaser. A primary caregiver can buy marijuana from a compassion center or grow it themselves, and they can have up to five patients.
An authorized purchaser can only buy marijuana at a compassion center and can only have one qualified patient.
Does Having a Medical Cannabis Card Mean Not Being Eligible for a Gun License in Rhode Island?
In Rhode Island, no laws directly state that having a medical marijuana card automatically disqualifies you from getting a gun license.
But it’s important to remember that federal law still makes it illegal to own and use marijuana, even if it’s allowed in your state or for medical reasons.
When it comes to guns and marijuana, this difference between state and federal law can make things hard to understand and could lead to problems.
The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has made it plain that any use or possession of cannabis, including for medicinal purposes, may be grounds for disqualification from purchasing a weapon under federal law.
People who want to buy a gun have to fill out a government background check form (Form 4473) that has questions about drug use. The form asks directly about your usage of drugs that are illegal at the federal level, like marijuana.
So even though Rhode Island may let people use medical cannabis and give out medical cannabis cards, people should be aware of the federal rules and what they might mean for gun ownership.
Since laws and interpretations can change over time, it’s best to talk to lawyers or local officials in Rhode Island to find out the exact rules and laws about medical marijuana and gun licenses.
Can You Take Your Gun to a Dispensary in Rhode Island?
Under Rhode Island law, local law enforcement “shall-issue” licenses to qualified applicants if it appears that the applicant is a suitable person to be licensed and has good reason to fear an injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a handgun.
The Rhode Island attorney general “may-issue” a license to carry a handgun, “concealed or not,” to a person age 21 or older who shows they have a good reason to do so, and has proven that he or she knows how to use the firearm.
Unlike local officials, the attorney general’s license can also be given to people who don’t have proper papers.
The Handgun Safety Certification (Blue Card) from the RI Department of Environmental Management is a requirement for purchasing a handgun in the state.
You still have to pass a background check to buy a firearm from a private person.
The state police or the city chief of police conduct the background check. In Rhode Island, guns don’t have to be registered.
Open carry is only allowed in Rhode Island if you have a Rhode Island License to Carry Concealed Weapons (LCCW) given by the attorney general. LCCWs given out by local officials can only be used for concealed carry.
The steps for getting an LCCW for open carry or concealed carry are exactly the same.
Applicants must be at least 21 years old and must explain why they need a gun and how it will solve their problem. They must also give three references that have been verified.
A gun training course that includes a live-fire test is required.
Even with an LCCW, you can’t take your gun to certain locations, including:
- The property of a public or private elementary or secondary school or in those portions of any building, stadium, or other structure on school grounds which are being used for an activity sponsored by or through a school in this state or while riding school provided transportation (except unloaded firearms in locked containers or a locked rack in a motor vehicle)
- State/national parks, WMAs and state/national forests
- Any place if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Secured areas in airports
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation.
If you have a valid carry license and the compassion center does not prohibit it, you are allowed to bring firearms there.
Can You Consume CBD and Own a Gun in Rhode Island?
CBD oil is permitted in Rhode Island, but the exact status of cannabidiol depends on where it comes from. CBD can come from both hemp and marijuana, and this is where things get complicated.
In 2017, Rhode Island passed the Hemp Growth Act, which made it legal to grow hemp according to the Farm Bill of 2014. Hemp was set up as a different thing from cannabis by this limited bill.
The defining factor is the same as what the federal government says about hemp: it should have less than 0.3% THC by dry weight.
You won’t get in trouble if your CBD product contains less than 0.3% THC and you have the licenses and permits to own a firearm.
Can I Own a Gun if My Spouse Has A Medical Cannabis Card in Rhode Island?
Even though no clear rules say it is illegal to own a gun in Rhode Island if your spouse has a medical cannabis card, it could still cause legal problems.
Cannabis is still banned at the federal level, even though it is allowed in some states. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has stated that using or having cannabis, even for medical reasons, is against federal law and makes it federally illegal to own a gun.
People who want to buy a gun must fill out a federal government background check form (Form 4473) with questions about drug use.
If you live with someone who uses marijuana, even for medical reasons, the ATF may see that as a possible violation of federal law, which could affect your ability to own a gun.
Talk to lawyers who specialize in Rhode Island’s gun laws and rules to get accurate, up-to-date information.
Laws and how they are interpreted can be different, and your case may have its own quirks or exceptions.
A local lawyer will be able to give you advice based on the most up-to-date rules and laws in your area.
Get Your Rhode Island Medical Cannabis Card
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