Rhode Island has recently legalized recreational marijuana for adult use. Here is what that legalization means for you, the everyday person. First, it changes the current laws surrounding the possession of marijuana. Second, it alters nearly all of the crimes involving marijuana. Lastly, it means that come December 2022, you should be able to purchase marijuana at a licensed marijuana dispensary. However, the change in the law can be confusing and complicated. For instance, the law does not legalize or change the manufacturing, delivery, or possession with the intent to sell marijuana. Therefore, you should contact an experienced Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney to help if you have been charged with any violation or crime involving marijuana. Attorney David Ellison is an experienced Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney who will use these experiences to help you fight the allegations against you.
WHAT IS THE NEW MARIJUANA LAW?
The Rhode Island Cannabis Act is a newly passed law that essentially legalized the adult use of recreational marijuana. In doing so, Rhode Island changed the possession laws, civil and criminal penalties, as well as criminal records involving marijuana in the state of Rhode Island.
WHAT ARE THE NEW MARIJUANA POSSESSION LAWS IN RHODE ISLAND?
The Rhode Island Cannabis Act differentiates possession in public and possession in the home. Therefore, the limit of marijuana you can have on you in public is different from the limit of marijuana you can have in your home. With that being said, the amount of marijuana you can legally have on your person in public is up to 1 ounce. Whereas the amount of marijuana you can legally possess in your home is up to 10 ounces. Furthermore, this law also limits the number of live marijuana plants you can own in your home to 3 mature and 3 immature live marijuana plants.
WHAT ARE THE CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR THE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA?
Rhode Island law breaks down the penalties for the possession of marijuana into civil violations and criminal penalties. The difference between a civil violation and a criminal penalty is that a civil violation usually carries a monetary fine and does not carry potential jail time. On the other hand, criminal penalties can include monetary fines as well as potential jail time.
What are the civil violations for the possession of marijuana?
- The possession of 1-2 ounces of marijuana by a person 21 years or older. This is a civil violation punishable by $150, and it is adjudicated at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.
- The possession of less than 2 ounces by people ages 17-20. This is a civil violation punishable by a $150 fine, the completion of an approved drug-awareness program, and community service.
- The possession of drug paraphernalia that would be lawful if the person was 21 years old, but the person is a minor. This is a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine, and the completion of a drug awareness program.
What are the criminal penalties for the possession of marijuana?
- The manufacturing, delivering, or possession with intent to sell marijuana is still a felony crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
- The possession of more than 2 ounces of marijuana in a place that is not your primary residence is a misdemeanor crime that is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine of $500.
- The possession of more than 10 ounces of marijuana in your primary residence is a misdemeanor crime that is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine ranging from $200 to $500.
- The possession of more than 3 mature and 3 immature live marijuana plants, but less than 25 plants is a misdemeanor crime that is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine ranging from $200 to $500.
- The possession of more than 25 live marijuana plants is a felony crime punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.
- A second or subsequent offense for the possession of marijuana whether in public or in your primary residence will result in mandatory 100 hours of community service, and the completion of a drug-counseling and education program.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED MARIJUANA UNDER RHODE ISLAND LAW?
Under the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, marijuana is defined as all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis. However, that does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil, or cake made from the seeds of the plant. Additionally, an ounce of marijuana is 28 grams.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH A MARIJUANA VIOLATION OR CRIME?
You should not take this matter lightly just because of the recent legislation. The first thing you should do is contact an experienced Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney like Attorney David Ellison. Once you have contacted Attorney David Ellison, he can look at the facts of your case and come up with the best strategy for you. Therefore, the best thing for you to do is contact Attorney David Ellison for legal representation today at (401)-230-5520.