Rhode Island Announces Five Medical Cannabis License Winners
Five new medical cannabis dispensaries are fixing to open their doors next year in Rhode Island after winning licenses during a luck-of-the draw lottery by the state’s Department of Business Regulation (DBR) on Oct. 29.
The lottery—which featured a blindfolded former FBI agent picking numbered balls out of a casino tumbler—came after former Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo signed a 2019 state budget that allowed for the state’s medical cannabis retail footprint to expand from three to nine dispensaries.
A sixth dispensary selection was supposed to be included in the expansion lottery, but the winner from Zone 6 will be determined at a later date because a rejected applicant from that geographic boundary brought forth an administrative appeal. Zone 6 includes Barrington, Bristol, East Providence, Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, New Shoreham, Pawtucket, Portsmouth, Tiverton and Warren.
Rather than delay the entire process, the DBR’s Office of Cannabis Regulation moved forward with selecting winners from the other five zones:
- Zone 1: RMI Compassion Center Inc. in Woonsocket
- Zone 2: Pinnacle Compassion Center Inc. in Central Falls
- Zone 3: Green Wave Compassion Center Inc. in Foster
- Zone 4: Solar Therapeutics Rhode Island Inc. in Cranston
- Zone 5: Plant Based Compassionate Care Inc. in South Kingstown
Those winners were selected from 23 pre-approved companies that submitted 37 applications. They will operate in cities and towns that do not currently have a dispensary.
Rhode Island’s three already established medical dispensaries include Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence, Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth and Summit Medical Compassion Center in Warwick.
Zone 4 was the most competitive in the lottery process with 11 applications. The winner, Solar Therapeutics, has a retail footprint in Somerset, Mass., just 15 miles southeast of Providence, R.I.
The five winning companies must pay a $500,000 annual licensing fee and aim to open their dispensary doors within nine months.
According to a DBR memo from Matthew Santacroce, chief of the Office of Cannabis Regulation, the winners “must take reasonable and documented efforts to complete the prerequisites for the issuance of the license. If satisfaction of all requirements for licensure takes longer than nine months, the approved applicant must show good cause to DBR why additional time should be granted and the application approval should not be rescinded.”