Rhode Island Marijuana Law Part I

Proponents for the legalization of marijuana have gained some serious ground in the push to take the drug mainstream. Both Washington State and Colorado now allow residents to purchase marijuana legally for recreational use. Additionally, over twenty states have enacted medical marijuana statutes allowing care providers and card holders to legally possess marijuana. As marijuana legalization expands, the Rhode Island Marijuana Lawyers at Abilheira Law answer today’s question: what is Rhode Island’s position and how does it impact you?

Possession of One Ounce or Less of Marijuana in Rhode Island  
Under Rhode Island General Law 21-28-4.01, possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana by a person eighteen years of age or older constitutes a civil offense, adjudicated at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. The offender is responsible for paying a one hundred fifty dollar ($150) civil penalty and must forfeit the marijuana in their possession. The civil penalty applies to both the first (1st) and second (2nd) offense.  Upon the third (3rd) offense within eighteen months, the offender will be charged with a misdemeanor and could face potential jail time and a large fine.
Possession of one (1) ounce or less of marijuana by a minor carries a similar fine, but the offender must first complete a drug awareness program and community service as determined by the court.  Failure to complete the drug awareness program and the community service within a year will result in an increased fine up to $300.
It is important to note that possession of marijuana while driving can also result in license suspension for up to six (6) months.
Possession of More Than One Ounce of Marijuana
Although Rhode Island has decriminalized marijuana to an extent, possession of more than one (1) ounce of marijuana is classified as a misdemeanor and can be punished by imprisonment for up to a year and a fine of up to $500. Additionally, drug counseling and community service are often imposed in an effort to curb future drug offenses.
Possession of More Than a Kilogram of Marijuana
Rhode Island approaches the possession of large amounts of Marijuana very seriously. If you are charged with possession of one to five kilograms of marijuana, you will face very serious consequences. Possession of one to five kilograms of marijuana is considered a felony subjecting you to up to fifty (50) years in jail and a $500,000 fine.
Defending Marijuana Charge
There are several defenses available to those charged with possession and many are firmly rooted within the United States Constitution.  When the stakes are this high, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Rhode Island Marijuana Lawyer to evaluate your case and formulate a successful defense.