State Police Say Making BHO Is Illegal

There is much confusion about the legal status of BHO (butane hash/honey oil, sometimes referred to as “shatter”) in Rhode Island. The State Police say it is illegal to make it. Rhode Island State Police Detective Commander Major Kevin O’Brien was quoted as follows: “We haven’t arrested anyone in the state for locating butane with marijuana,” said O’Brien. “With that being said, we just received clarification from the [Rhode Island] Attorney General a few weeks ago with regard to butane ‘honey oil.’ The [Attorney General’s] office and appellate groups came to the conclusion that we can make arrests. I can only speak to the state police for not making any so far, I don’t know about cities and towns.”

“If there’s butane present, and someone’s growing marijuana, you can’t do that,” said O’Brien.  “If you come upon a residence, and there’s anything combustible along with marijuana, they can charged with manufacturing.”

We do not know what law the state police and Attorney General are relying on.  Our state regulated compassion centers have been selling BHO.  They have asked caregivers and patients to sell it to them and one center is making it.  RIPAC has asked the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office if Commander Major O’Brien’s remarks apply to licensed patients and caregivers and what law that would authorize such prosecutions.   A reporter asked similar questions. The Attorney General’s office has not responded with an answer.

We should keep in mind that regardless of the state law, making BHO is illegal under federal law and the US Attorney’s office could prosecute if they chose to do so. The US Attorney’s office has indicated a recent interest in BHO.

We will continue to seek clarification.



Thank you and update from RIPAC

Thank you for the overwhelming support that we have received since the fire at RIPAC headquarters. All the help, offers of support and well wishes show what a strong community we have in Rhode Island. Apologies if we have not responded to every email and message but please know that every encouraging expression has lifted our spirits and reinforced our commitment to RI patients and their caregivers.  About four and a half years ago, RIPAC lost its office in Wayland Square because we could no longer afford to pay the rent. Because of a generous landlord, we were able to establish headquarters on Kinsley Avenue where we grew and developed a solid base of volunteers and expanded our activities.  The fire at Kinsley Avenue has left us, once again, without an office but with a community that is larger and stronger than ever.  We may be postponing some classes and meetings due to the disruption caused by the fire but the essence of RIPAC is people, not places.  So, please bear with us while we finalize new locations for an office, orientations, grow classes, and community meetings. The Johnston patient meeting will take place, as usual, on the last Tuesday of the month. The South County meeting will continue on the 3rd Wednesday of the month (see calendar on website for details). We are working on a series of outdoor waterfront meetings in Newport for the summer and early fall.

This is a busy time. The legislature is back in session.  Legislators need to be educated about the MMj program and the needs of its patients. We drafted a bill that would restore the seedling limit to 24 for a cardholder who is both a patient and caregiver (it was reduced to 12 last session). We are, once again, working to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions. There will be hearings and there are more bills to support and there will be bills that could have a negative impact on the program (we will soon be posting summaries). The Oversight Committee to advise the legislature about the Compassion Centers was created in 2009 and STILL has not been set up, BHO is receiving more scrutiny and the state police have stated their intention to arrest cardholders who are making it, more and more MMj patients are reporting workplace discrimination, there are controversies and confusion with cardholders, cities and towns about the new co-op rules, more and more patients are entering the program and looking for answers, looking for caregivers, patients living in federally subsidized housing are fearing eviction,  and on and on………. RIPAC started education and advocacy for MMj in Rhode Island in 2003.  This is no time to stop. Rest assured, we won’t stop. We are far too busy.

While we are working on new venues where you can get answers to questions, we are making extra efforts to be available by phone. If no one answers and you leave a voicemail, we are making our very best efforts to return your call within 24 hours, maximum of 48, excluding weekends.  You can also email the executive director directly at

Again, thank you for your support, your kind words, and offers. The best way for all RI patients and their caregivers to have access to safe affordable medicine is for us to stick together and work for our common goals.

Fire Destroys RIPAC Building

A massive fire destroyed most of the building complex in which RIPAC is located. The fire started late Monday night and continued throughout the day yesterday. Thanks to the heroic efforts of the Providence firefighters, the fire did not reach the RIPAC offices. We are expecting severe water damage, however. We do not yet know the cause of the fire which seems to have started at the other end of the 90,000 square foot building. As of last night, the fire department had still not been able to enter our offices due to concerns about structural safety.

Thank you for your patience and support while we get our bearings. RIPAC meetings and classes are suspended temporarily. We hope to find a temporary location for the grow classes by next week. Please watch the calendar on this website for updates. If you are registered for the grow classes, be sure we have your email or other contact info.

If you have been thinking about donating to RIPAC, now would be a good time. Please click on the donate button above.  Thank you

Grow Classes Begin March 11

RIPAC has pulled together a team of experts to offer a series of eight grow classes over the course of four months on the following selected Wednesday evenings 7 – 9 PM. The team is led by Mike, a well known expert, familiar to those who attend the RIPAC Johnston patient meetings. Mike is working with a team to provide the best information and guidance to help patients and their caregivers produce effective quality medicine in compliance with RI law. This is the second time that we have offered this series. The reviews from the first series were GREAT!  You may attend all 8 classes (recommended) or choose individual classes. Those who attend all 8 classes will receive certificates of completion.

Where: RIPAC Headquarters, located at 498 Kinsley Avenue, Providence, RI

Who: You must have a MMj card (patient or caregiver) to attend.

Fee: There is a 25 dollar fee per class

When: Selected Wednesday evenings as listed below, 7- 9pm

To Register: Call or text RIPAC at 401.861.1601 or email

MARCH 11   1st class.    Introduction: Grow room environment, Grow room set up

MARCH 25   2nd class.   Container selection, Medium selection, Water requirements, Nutrient selection, PH testing

APRIL 8   3rd class.   Seed germination, Transplanting seedlings, Cloning, Transplanting clones

APRIL 22   4th class.   Pests and diseases, Prevention, Treatment of infected plants

MAY 6    5th class.   Vegetative growth, Vegetative nutrients, Transplanting, Topping and training, Sexing a plant

MAY 20    6th class.   Flowering cycle, Flowering nutrients, Patience

JUNE 3    7th class.   Harvest, Drying, Curing

JUNE 17   8th class.    Making Bubble Hash, Cannabis Butter and Cannabis Tincture