PROVIDENCE – Five licensed medical marijuana compassion centers have received hybrid retail licenses from the state and will be allowed to sell adult use marijuana starting Dec. 1, Gov. Daniel J. McKee and the R.I. Department of Business Regulation’s Office of Cannabis Regulation announced on Tuesday.
The five dispensaries are: Aura of Rhode Island in Central Falls, Thomas C. Slater Center in Providence, Mother Earth Wellness in Pawtucket, Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth and RISE Warwick in Warwick.
“This milestone is the result of a carefully executed process to ensure that our state’s entry into this emerging market was done in a safe, controlled and equitable manner,” said McKee. “It is also a win for our statewide economy and our strong, locally based cannabis supply chain, which consists of nearly 70 licensed cultivators, processors and manufacturers in addition to our licensed compassion centers. Finally, I thank the leadership of the General Assembly for passing this practical implementation framework in the Rhode Island Cannabis Act and I look forward to continuing our work together on this issue.”
The state started accepting applications for hybrid retail licenses in October, a license that would allow existing licensed compassion centers to sell both medical and recreational marijuana to Rhode Island adults 21 and older.
“We were pleased with the quality and comprehensiveness of the applications we received from the state’s compassion centers, and we are proud to launch adult use sales in Rhode Island just six months after the Cannabis Act was signed into law, marking the Northeast’s fastest implementation period,” said Matthew Santacroce, interim deputy director of the R.I. Department of Business Regulation and chief of the Office of Cannabis Regulation. “We look forward to continuing to work with the state’s cannabis business community to ensure this critical economic sector scales in compliance with the rules and regulations put forward by state regulators.”
The state passed a legislation legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana earlier this year and set Dec. 1 as the start date for adult use sales. Before the legalization, Rhode Island only had three medical compassion centers: the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center, Summit Medical Compassion Center and Greenleaf Compassion Care Center.
In the past few months, three more centers have opened, and more are set to open in the following months. Santacroce said he expects two more hybrid retailers to be added in January 2023, bringing the total to seven.
Santacroce said they have not received any other hybrid license application as of Tuesday. Out of the current licensed compassion centers, Sweetspot Dispensary in South Kingstown is the only center that has not applied for a hybrid license yet.
With the legalization of recreational cannabis in May, the R.I. Cannabis Act automatically authorized cities and towns to allow recreational sales. But individual municipalities had the opportunity to opt out through a referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot. Out of the 31 municipalities that let voters decide, 25 Rhode Island communities approved recreational cannabis sales, while another six, Barrington, East Greenwich, Jamestown, Little Compton, Scituate and Smithfield rejected allowing pot businesses to set up in their communities.
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