There has been colossal confusion and uncertainty regarding the changes that took effect September 1. Two or more cardholders (licensed patients and/or caregivers) growing together are now a co-op and subject to new plant limits, reporting and inspection requirements. If you missed previous communications about the substance of changes, scroll down on this website to find the info on H.7610 subA.
Non-residential co-ops must be inspected by the local fire departments and city or town building inspectors. Most inspectors do not know what is expected of them and are not completing the inspections. MMj cardholders in Lincoln were told to apply for a special permit at a public hearing before the zoning board. Cardholders in Hopkinton and South Kingston have been told they cannot grow under current zoning laws. We brought these problems to the attention of AG Kilmartin who said that this new law was NOT intended to prohibit growing and that the town and cities needed more education. It is not clear what his timetable is for providing this education. In the meanwhile, cardholders who are trying to abide by the law are left in limbo. So far, we have heard from only one non-residential co-op that has successfully completed the process. It is not clear how information about non-residential co-ops will remain confidential but the MMj law requires state and city officials to protect the confidentiality of patients and caregivers.
We would like to hear from you about your experiences if you have been trying to comply with the requirements for a non-residential co-op. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The process for residential co-ops is much less complicated because there is no requirement for inspections by town or city building and fire departments. These co-ops must have an affidavit from an electrician.
Both residential and non-residential co-ops must register with state police. After a very rough start, the State Police are taking registrations.
All caregivers are now required to have NATIONAL BACKGROUND RECORDS CHECKS (NBRC). We recommend getting your check at the Attorney General’s office, 150 South Main Street, Providence, 401.274.4400. The cost is 35 dollars. Bring check or money order because they will not accept cash. You do not need to submit to the check more than once every two years, whether you have one patient or 5 patients. If a new patient is appointing you, you will find the form you need to bring to the AG in the new patient application. You can also find the form on the AG’s website, http://www.riag.ri.gov/documents/bci/fingerprintform.pdf
If you are currently a caregiver, you can wait until your patient renews their MMj card or until you appoint a new patient to obtain your NBRC.