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Rhode Island Laws & Penalties

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine  

Possession

Personal Use

Less than 1 oz civil offense none $ 150
1 oz - 1 kg misdemeanor 1 year $ 500

With Intent to Distribute

1 - 5 kg felony 10* - 50 years $ 500,000
More than 5 kg felony 25 years* - life $ 100,000
Within 300 yards of a school may result in double penalty.
1 kg is approximately 35 oz
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Sale or Cultivation

Less than 1 kg felony 30 years $ 100,000
1 - 5 kg felony 10* - 50 years $ 500,000
More than 5 kg felony 20 years* - life $ 10,000
To a minor at least three years younger felony 2 - 5 years $ 100,000
Within 300 yards of a school may result in double penalty.
1 kg is approximately 35 oz
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Hash & Concentrates

Penalties for hashish are the same as for marijuana. Please see the marijuana penalties section for further details.

Paraphernalia

Manufacture, sale, delivery, or possession with intent to sell or deliver not classified 2 years $ 5,000
Delivery to a person under 18 years not classified 5 years $ 5,000

Miscellaneous

Possession while driving will result in a driver's license suspension for a period of 6 months.

Penalty Details

Possession for Personal Use

Governor Lincoln Chafee signed legislation into law that significantly reduces the penalties associated with the possession of marijuana for personal use. Under the new law, the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by an individual 18 years or older is a non-arrestable civil offense - punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. The law took effect on April 1, 2013.

Possession of 1 ounce to 1 kilogram is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500.

See:

  • Section 21-28-4.01 of the Rhode Island General Laws
  • Section 21-28-2.03 of the Rhode Island General Laws
  • Section 21-28-2.08 of the Rhode Island General Laws

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possession of between 1-5 kilograms is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 50 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500,000.

Possession of more than 5 kilograms is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $100,000.

Sale or possession within 300 yards of a school may result in a doubling of the penalties.

Possession while driving will result in a driver's license suspension for a period of 6 months.

See:

  • Section 21-28-4.01 of the Rhode Island General Laws
  • Section 21-28-2.03 of the Rhode Island General Laws
  • Section 21-28-2.08 of the Rhode Island General Laws

Sale or Cultivation

Sale or cultivation of less than 1 kilogram is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Sale or cultivation of between 1-5 kilograms is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 50 years imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $500,000.

Sale or cultivation of more than 5 kilograms is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $100,000.

Delivery to a minor at least three years younger than the offender carries with it the additional penalty of between 2-5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Sale or possession within 300 yards of a school, public park, or playground doubles the penalties.

For sentences of probation without imprisonment, the offender must undergo drug abuse evaluation, attend a drug education course, and perform 100 hours of community service.

See:

  • Section 21-28-4.01.2 of the Rhode Island General Laws
  • Section 21-28-2.03 of the Rhode Island General Laws
  • Section 21-28-2.08 of the Rhode Island General Laws

Hash & Concentrates

Hashish and concentrates fall under the definition of marijuana. For more information on Rhode Island's criminal penalties relating to marijuana or Rhode Island's medical uses of marijuana, please see these related sections on NORML's website.

See:

  • Section 21-28-1.02(26) of Rhode Island General Laws

Paraphernalia

The manufacture, sale, delivery, or possession with the intent to sell or deliver, of paraphernalia is punishable by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) and imprisonment not exceeding two (2) years.

Any person eighteen (18) years of age or over who delivers drug paraphernalia to a person under eighteen (18) years of age shall be subject to a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) and imprisonment not to exceed five (5) years.

See:

  • Section 21-28.5-1 of the Rhode Island General Laws
  • Section 21-28.5-2 of the Rhode Island General Laws
  • Section 21-28.5-3 of the Rhode Island General Laws

Miscellaneous

Possession while driving will result in a driver's license suspension for a period of 6 months.

See:

  • Section 21-28-2.08 of the Rhode Island General Laws
  • Section 21-28-2.03 of the Rhode Island General Laws
  • Section 21-28-4.01 of the Rhode Island General Laws.

If the offense inolves the use of any automobile to transport the substance or the substance is found within an automobile, then a person convicted or who pleads nolo contendere shall be subjected to a loss of license for a period of six months for a first offense and one year for each offense after this.

See:

  • Title 21, Chapter 21-28, Article 21-28-4.01(4)(iv)
Conditional Release

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual's criminal record does not reflect the charge.

Decriminalization

The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.

Drugged Driving

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. Further information about cannabinoids and their impact on psychomotor performance is available here. Additional information regarding cannabinoids and proposed per se limits is available here.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML's Medical Marijuana section.

Tax Stamps

This state has a marijuana tax stamp law enacted. This law mandates that those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction. For more information, see NORML's report Marijuana Tax Stamp Laws And Penalties.






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