Rhode Island Marijuana Lawyer

Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni, III

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Top Marijuana Defense Lawyer Ready to Defense Your Case

Although the legal implications of marijuana have evolved over the past several years, it is still possible to face serious punishments that are contingent on the quantity of marijuana possessed and the intent of the possessor. If you’re facing marijuana criminal charges, you need a defense lawyer that specializes in Rhode Island cannabis law. Contact the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your drug crime case. 

Marijuana Offenses

Historically, marijuana was always listed, treated, prosecuted, and punished like all other drugs listed in the Rhode Island criminal law and Uniformed Controlled Substances Act. This changed with the advent of medical marijuana laws in Rhode Island, and most recently the decriminalization of cannabis in a quantity of one ounce or less. 

Under Rhode Island Criminal law, Possession and Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana may be found under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act at Rhode Island General Laws, Chapter 21, Title 28.  

A marijuana-related offense of possession of one ounce or less can lead to a civil offense punishable solely by payment of a civil financial assessment of $150.  Simple possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor and punishment by up to one year in jail and/or $1000 fine. 

Possession with intent to deliver marijuana is considered a felony and depending upon the quantity of cannabis involved, it may be punished by years in jail or even up to life imprisonment. Despite the decriminalization of marijuana, it’s important to remember that it is still classified as an illegal drug in these circumstances. Contact our law firm today to learn more about what constitutes a marijuana offense from an experienced Rhode Island cannabis lawyer. 

What You Need to Know About Rhode Island Marijuana Laws

Because the laws around cannabis are constantly changing, it can create a lot of confusion around what’s legal and what’s considered illegal use and possession of marijuana. That’s why we’ve created this list of frequently asked questions to help you understand Rhode Island cannabis laws, medical marijuana guidelines, potential penalties of marijuana charges, and how a marijuana lawyer can help. 

What are Rhode Island’s medical marijuana laws? 

The laws pertaining to medical marijuana are found under Rhode Island General Laws, Chapter 21, Title 28.6, known as the Medical Marijuana Act (MMA).  Under the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Act, a qualifying patient cardholder who has in his or her possession a valid medical marijuana card will not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner for the medical use of marijuana. 

How much medical marijuana am I legally allowed to possess? 

A cardholder of medical marijuana may not possess an amount of marijuana exceeding twelve (12) mature marijuana plants and twelve (12) immature marijuana plants or two and one-half ounces (2.5 oz.) of dried medical marijuana. If you’re facing charges for possession of an illegal amount of medical marijuana or medical marijuana plants, contact our law firm today.

Can I grow marijuana for medical use? 

Yes, but you must follow the state’s strict guidelines and remember that cannabis plants must be accompanied by valid medical marijuana plant tags. The plants and marijuana produced may only be grown, stored, manufactured, and processed in accordance with regulations set forth by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation.  Failure to comply with any of these rules or regulations may result in the loss of the legal protections afforded to the medical marijuana cardholder under the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Act. To hear more about the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Act and growing guidelines, contact our law firm to speak with a marijuana lawyer. 

What are the potential punishments of a marijuana conviction? 

Marijuana offenses may be a civil violation, a misdemeanor crime, or a felony crime under Rhode Island law.  Again, the nature of the offense and potential punishment are based upon the quantity of marijuana involved.  It is a civil violation to possess one ounce or less of marijuana by a person age 18 or older for a first or second shall result in a civil assessment of $150 and forfeiture of the marijuana. If the person is age 17, but less than age 18 years, the defendant must also complete a drug-awareness program and community service. These penalties may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 21-28-4.01.

Criminal penalties for marijuana offenses vary by quantity possessed and the intent of the possessor.  Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor and a person may face up to a year in prison.  Upon conviction for manufacturing, delivering, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver marijuana, of a quantity of one kilogram but no more than five kilograms, the defendant shall be sentenced up to a term of 50 years in prison. If the quantity is more than five kilograms, the defendant shall be sentenced to a term of up to life in prison.

What if I was caught with marijuana in a school zone?

While the laws around cannabis are becoming less restricted, Rhode Island still takes drug possession in the presence of children seriously. If you’re caught possessing marijuana with an intent to distribute within 300 yards of a school zone, your penalties will be doubled if convicted. 

How long does a marijuana charge stay on your record?

There are a few factors that will determine if a marijuana charge goes on your criminal record and how long it will stay there. In some cases, Rhode Island allows for conditional release, which means that those facing their first marijuana charge may have an alternative path towards probation instead of a criminal trial. In these cases, when the probation term is completed, the marijuana charge will not be reflected on your criminal record. And because the state has decriminalized marijuana, there will be no criminal record for those first-time offenders caught with a small amount of marijuana for personal use, as these cases are treated as a civil violation. However, in other cases, if your marijuana charge is treated as a misdemeanor, it may be expunged after 5 years of a sentence completion. A felony marijuana charge may be expunged after 10 years of a sentence completion. If you’re interested in having a drug-related charge expunged, contact our law firm today to speak with a marijuana lawyer and learn more about the expungement process. 

What about marijuana paraphernalia? 

You can face serious penalties for the possession, sale, or delivery or marijuana paraphernalia. Punishments include fines up to $5,000 and a maximum sentence of 2 years in jail. If you’re caught selling or delivering marijuana paraphernalia to a minor, jail time can be increased to 5 years. If you’ve been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, contact our law firm today to discuss your case. 

Do I need to hire a marijuana attorney? 

If you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges for a marijuana-related offense, it’s highly recommended to hire a marijuana attorney. Marijuana crimes can lead to severe penalties, incredibly high fines, and years in jail. Working closely with an experienced marijuana lawyer can help you avoid extreme sentences and heavy fines. In some cases, a skilled cannabis attorney may even be able to have your marijuana charges dropped. With so much at stake, it’s never advised to face marijuana criminal charges alone. 

If you’ve been charged with a marijuana-related offense, contact the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III as soon as possible. John L. Calcagni has been defending those facing drug charges for years and has the knowledge and aggressive defense skills to produce the best possible outcome. The sooner you call, the better your chances at a positive result.


If you have been charged with a Marijuana offense and need experienced Rhode Island Drug Defense Lawyers call (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation with the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III.