Rhode Island is taking steps to make sure medical marijuana remains available to patients after the launch of recreational cannabis sales. The Rhode Island Department of Health announced on December 1st that patients registering in the state’s medical marijuana program will no longer be charged a fee. Massachusetts eliminated its patient registration fee in 2019 and it appears that Rhode Island is now following suit. In the past, patients were charged a one-time non-refundable $50 fee, which could be reduced to $25 for those receiving medicaid, social security disability, or veteran disability benefits. Now there is no fee to register with the state.
Despite this improvement, patients in Rhode Island are still upset that medical marijuana is taxed. Rhode Island taxes medical cannabis sales at 7% despite its status as a medication. Recreational marijuana is taxed at 20%. In addition, Matt Santacroce, the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation’s interim deputy director, also confirmed that starting March 1, 2023, Rhode Island will stop allowing out-of-state patient cards to be used to purchase medical marijuana at compassion centers. Santacroce calls this an example of a first-step towards tightening the eligibility of the medical program.