Health Dept. Finalizes Regulations

The Health Dept adopted regulations that:

Require caregivers to live in RI.  The regulations take effect January 1.  We are in the process of finding out if out of state caregivers are required to turn in their cards and take down their gardens by January 1 or whether they can keep their cards until the expiration date.

Require doctors who sign applications to see their MMj patients at least every 6 months and:

(a) The certifying practitioner shall obtain three (3) hours or equivalent of Category 1 CME regarding medical marijuana every two (2) years as part of usual CME/CE requirement.

(b) The certifying practitioner shall document in the medical record the basis for issuance of a written certification regarding use of medical marijuana, specifically identifying the debilitating condition(s) being met.

(c) Patient Education: The certifying practitioner shall document in the medical record and provide in written or verbal format, that patient was educated regarding maximum daily dose of active ingredient, minimum interval between doses, possible drug interactions – including risk of co-ingesting alcohol.

(d) The certifying practitioner must document after examination, the patient’s response to conventional medical therapies and explain the risks and benefits of the use of marijuana to the qualifying patient.

(e) The certifying practitioner must be committed to the continual assessment of the patient and the patient’s response to the use of marijuana. This must be demonstrated through follow-up appointments, semi-annually at minimum, before the card is renewed. The practitioner will send updates to the primary care provider (if not the PCP), at intervals 5 not to exceed twelve (12) months, documenting patients progress or experience using medical marijuana.

(f) The certifying practitioner must have a current license to practice medicine, as specified in § 1.21 of these regulations, and current DEA registration and appropriate state controlled substance registration.

(g) Before issuing a written certification, a certifying physician must review the Rhode Island Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, review the patients’ prescription history and make a judgement about the potential for drug interaction, adverse events or untoward clinical outcome from adding medical marijuana.

(h) Document in the medical record a full assessment as defined in § 1.13 of these Regulations Addition of Debilitating Medical Conditions

Defines Role of “Authorized Purchaser”as a person who purchases MMj for a patient at a compassion center. Must pass same national crime record check (fingerprints and 35 dollar fee) as caregivers. Same fee as caregivers (100 dollars per year). May reside out of state.

The regulations do not state that patients who are eligible for hospice (and their caregiver, if any)should have their fees waived.  This was included in the PTSD bill that became law last July.

RIPAC, the ACLU, and many patients and caregivers submitted testimony suggesting changes that the Health Dept. chose not to incorporate. To read the new regs  go to the Health Dept.’s website:

Reminder:  As of January 1, licenses will be on a one year cycle instead of two. If you renew your license after Jan 1, you will receive one year license instead of two.If you are currently paying 100 dollars for a two year registration, you will pay 50 dollars for a one year license. Caregivers will pay 100 dollars per year. However, if you currently pay the reduced fee of 25 dollars, you will pay 25 dollars every year instead of every 2 years. So, in effect, the patients with the lowest incomes are receiving a increase in fees. We were told that the conversion to a one year cycle would NOT result in fee increases. To see the fees:







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