In May 2022, Rhode Island legalized recreational marijuana. Since we’re the 19th state to do so, legislators and residents have spent years seeing how other states handle legalization. Every state’s laws regarding recreational marijuana are different, and ours are among the most progressive in the country.
Basically, getting arrested with marijuana in Rhode Island looks quite a bit different today than it did just a few years ago. Advocates across the country are applauding the details of our new legislation.
Today, we’re covering what these changes mean for both pre-existing and new marijuana-related arrests in Rhode Island. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly how to navigate an arrest while in possession of marijuana.
Governor Dan McKee signed the Rhode Island Cannabis Act in May 2022. This legislation makes licensed retail sales and personal use of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. It also allows for home cultivation of up to 6 marijuana plants.
Perhaps most importantly, this also launched an automatic review and expungement process for past marijuana-related criminal records. The state of Rhode Island has a deadline of July 1, 2024, for completing this process, and it’s estimated to affect at least 27,000 individual cases.
What you may be surprised to learn is that you can speed up the expungement of your own records. You don’t have to wait 2 years. The legislation clearly specifies that you can proactively contact the court. All you have to do is write a letter to the court in the county where your charges were originally filed and explain that you’re requesting expungement.
Even better, you don’t have to spend a dime. No filing fees are associated with this process. The court will also waive any outstanding fees or costs, though you won’t get reimbursement for any costs you’ve already paid.
Nearly a decade ago, Rhode Island decriminalized possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. The new legislation expands on what’s legal and clearly defines what’s not. Let’s dive into these details next.
When it comes to marijuana possession, here’s where things currently stand…
Intention to Distribute:
In terms of marijuana cultivation or sale, the new laws dictate the following…
Finally, you may be wondering how paraphernalia factors in to all this. Here’s what you can expect…
If you’re arrested while in the possession of any amount of marijuana, the first thing you should do is call Rhode Island marijuana defense lawyer S. Joshua Macktaz, Eq.. Even though our recreational marijuana legislation is fairly cut and dry when compared to other states, the next couple years are going to be a transition period.
Courts and public employees—including law enforcement officials—are people, too. They’re going to need time to wrap their heads around how, exactly, all of this new legislation works. But as a criminal defense attorney with over 3 decades of experience, I’ve made a name for myself with these people.
It’s not uncommon for judges and other public employees to send their families my way when they need my services. I am uniquely positioned to see you through this time of transition, no matter what the details of your arrest are. Just call me at (401) 861-1155 whenever you need legal representation, day or night.
The eligibility requirements to expunge a marijuana possession charge in Rhode Island are simply that you were in possession of 2 ounces or less. Every single civil violation, misdemeanor, and felony conviction is eligible for review and expungement.
Even if your possession charges were part of a larger case, the state of Rhode Island will likely expunge the marijuana-related charges. You’re also eligible even if you have violent crimes on your record, pending criminal proceedings, and/or outstanding fees or fines owed to the court.
The timeline for expunging marijuana possession charges in Rhode Island is slightly less than 2 years in the worst-case scenario. If you choose to wait for your expungement to happen automatically, the state must complete it by July 1, 2024 at the latest.
But as mentioned earlier, writing a letter to the court will seriously speed up your expungement process. And once your charges have been expunged, you don’t have to disclose them for job applications. I highly recommend taking the time to write that letter.
If you have a marijuana possession charge on your record in Rhode Island, you should consider applying for expedited expungement. Why wait 2 years for the state to process it when you could start fresh now?
If you aren’t comfortable handling this on your own, I’d be happy to help. Just contact me at (401) 861-1155 for a free consultation. If you decide to move forward with my help, I’ll review your entire criminal record to find out what’s eligible for expungement. In just a few short weeks, you could put all of this behind you.
Even though recreational marijuana is now legal in Rhode Island, you can still get arrested for marijuana-related offenses. You may be hit with DUI charges or possession with the intent to distribute, for example. Purchasing from an unlicensed seller poses a risk too.
As a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney, I know good people make mistakes too. Being charged with any kind of marijuana offense is a terrifying and overwhelming experience. That’s why I’ve spent my 30+ year career successfully defending people just like you.
If you’ve been arrested for marijuana—whether it was recently or in years gone by—call S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. today for a free consultation. I pride myself on being with you every step of the way, from preparing paperwork to standing by your side in court.
I’m available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because I know arrests don’t always happen during “business hours.” Call now at (401) 861-1155.