How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Rhode Island Step by Step
After legalizing medical cannabis in 2006, Rhode Island began sales through dispensaries in 2013. The state's medical marijuana program ensures patients have access to safe, medical-grade cannabis for managing their debilitating symptoms.
Any Rhode Island resident with a qualifying condition can apply for a medical marijuana card as long as they obtain a written certificate from an authorized medical provider. For many patients, cannabis is transformational. It can help improve quality of life, pain, and other symptoms that impede people’s ability to function.
The state embraces medical cannabis as a viable mode of symptom control, and its program is well-regulated to ensure patient safety and compliance. Read on to learn about the qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis and the application process for an MMJ registration card.
Step 1: Identify Your Qualifying Condition
Rhode Island only recognizes the following conditions as qualifying for prospective medical marijuana patients:
- Agitation related to Alzheimer’s disease
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Hepatitis C
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (patients must be 18 years or older)
Medical marijuana doctors may also issue recommendations for any chronic or debilitating condition if the disease or its treatment causes one or more of the following symptoms:
- Agitation related to Alzheimer’s disease
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and debilitating chronic pain
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those resulting from multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease
- Severe nausea
Step 2: Meet with a Licensed Physician
You must consult a doctor or nurse practitioner before applying for your cannabis card. Any doctor licensed in Rhode Island, Connecticut, or Massachusetts can issue a Practitioner Written Certification form. The document confirms that you have a bona fide doctor-patient relationship and that you would benefit from medical marijuana.
During the consultation, explain the nature of your debilitating medical condition and give a detailed description of your medical history. The doctor will then assess your suitability for medical marijuana based on your qualifying condition(s) and Rhode Island medical marijuana laws.
Be sure to disclose all your prescription medications and ongoing treatments. A comprehensive health history helps the physician rule out possible contraindications or adverse side effects from cannabis.
Step 3: Compile the Necessary Paperwork and Register With MMMP
The next step is to compile the necessary paperwork to submit an application to the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program. You can download the patient application packet from the Department of Health website. Be sure to submit original copies of each page and retain duplicates for your records. The required documents include:
- Completed patient application form
- Proof of Rhode Island residency, accepted forms include a Rhode Island driver’s license, Rhode Island state ID card, vehicle registration, voter registration, correspondence from a Rhode Island state agency with a current date, or a recently dated car insurance bill with your name and address
- Completed practitioner form
- Completed autism diagnosis form, if autism is the qualifying condition
- Completed minor form, if applicable
Note that the state may also request additional medical records.
Before submitting it, review every page of your application to ensure each field is complete and all required signatures are present. Verify that the copy of your Proof of Residency document is clear and legible as well.
Step 4: Submit Your Application
The state of Rhode Island’s application packet for qualifying patients is nine pages long. Be sure to send every page when you submit it, including those you leave blank because they are inapplicable to your case. Incomplete applications are returned, extending the time it will take to secure approval. If you’re under 18 years old or otherwise unable to submit an application yourself, a designated caregiver must submit one on your behalf.
The entire application must be submitted by mail in one envelope to Rhode Island Center for Professional Licensing-Room 105A, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908-5097. The Rhode Island Department of Health typically processes applications within five to ten days.
Once approved, you will receive a notice by mail to report for a marijuana identification card photo. You must present a valid Rhode Island driver’s license or state ID at your photograph appointment.
The card is subject to yearly renewal. The state contacts cardholders via email with a renewal application 60 days before the expiration of their current registration.
Step 5: Receive Your Medical Marijuana Card
Once your picture is complete, you will receive your card and be able to visit any medical marijuana dispensary in Rhode Island. Your card allows you to purchase 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower or its equivalent in other forms every 15 days.
Dispensaries, also called compassion centers, are staffed by knowledgeable workers who can advise you on the available strains of cannabis and their suitability for managing your symptoms. Rhode Island dispensaries sell a wide variety of products, including edibles and CBD-infused items.
Need Help Obtaining a Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Card?
The Rhode Island Medical Program has a detailed and lengthy paper application process. The Sanctuary can answer questions about the state’s eligibility requirements and refer you to an experienced medical marijuana doctor who can then issue your written certification form.
Our team will then advise you about the components of a complete patient packet so you can confidently submit a strong application. A full and accurate application will ensure that you get your card as quickly as possible so you can begin purchasing medical marijuana.
Contact us today to learn more.