Rhode Island lawmakers don’t want patients from other states resorting to the black market.
Dominique Loumachi, suffering from Dermatomyositis (Myopathy), smokes a cigarette that looks like a cannabis cigarette in order not to be charged for promoting consumption of narcotic substances while posing on February 28, 2013 in Belfort, Eastern France. (Photo by Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images)
As of June 22, dispensaries in Rhode Island have been able to sell pot to anyone with a valid medical cannabis authorization from any state.
The intent of the law wasn’t to drive tourism or boost sales, but rather to ensure that visitors don’t turn to the black market for medicine. Most consumers, as Napoleon Brito, the general manager of Summit Medical Compassion Center, told the Providence Journal, are from neighboring Massachusetts.
He has had a few outliers pop in. One customer presenting a California MMJ card aroused concern as Brito worried that they had obtained it online—an actual thing you can do in California—and weren’t actually from the state. It was quickly resolved as Rhode Island’s regulations require dispensaries to grab a second form of ID and the patient presented a valid California driver’s license.
Patients from out of state will be entered into the state’s tracking database, the Journal notes, which keeps track of how much individuals are consuming. Patients are permitted 2.5 ounces of dried pot or an equivalent amount of whatever other formulation they use for each 15-day period.
The regulatory change was part of a larger bill to expand Rhode Island’s medical cannabis system with 12 new licenses, but that ultimately failed to pass. The out of state sales provision did survive, but congressional leaders were skeptical of the size of the expansion, originally proposed by Gov. Gina Raimondo.
Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said, according to the Journal, “I don’t know what the right number is, but the whole system needs a comprehensive review before taking any further action. I don’t want to make a decision that may have to be pulled back.”
So, bad news for anyone wanting to see more bud in Rhode Island. But, if you’re a medical cannabis tourist looking to hunt down some of Rhode Island’s famous clam cakes, you’re psyched.