The state of Rhode Island legalized recreational cannabis for ages 21 or over, in 2022. There are currently six dispensaries in Rhode Island (as of July 2023); these dispensaries offer both recreational and medical cannabis. The new law also allows up to 24 new retail licenses to be distributed in six zones statewide.
The state of Rhode Island legalized medical cannabis in 2006 through a Legislative bill, Senate Bill 710, which provided a legal way for qualifying patients in the state to access and utilize medical cannabis as a form of treatment for their ailment. Access to medical cannabis is through state-licensed businesses that are allowed to grow, manufacture and sell medical cannabis. Learn more about how to get a Rhode Island marijuana business license or schedule a complimentary consultation with our licensing expert, below.
When to Apply
TBD – Anticipated Q4 2024
RHODE ISLAND ADULT-USE MARIJUANA BUSINESS LICENSES
Cultivation Licenses: can cultivate, process, and package cannabis, deliver cannabis to cannabis establishments, and transfer cannabis to other cannabis establishments.
there shall be a moratorium on the issuance of new cannabis cultivator licenses until the date that is two (2) years following the final issuance of the commission’s rules and regulations.
- Upon expiration of the moratorium, the commission may adopt rules and regulations authorizing issuance of additional cultivator licenses; provided, however, a new cultivator licensee’s canopy shall not exceed ten thousand square feet (10,000 sqft).
Manufacturing Licenses: can obtain, manufacture, process, and package cannabis and cannabis products, deliver cannabis and cannabis products to cannabis establishments, and transfer cannabis and cannabis products to other cannabis establishments.
Retail Licenses: can purchase and deliver cannabis and cannabis products from cannabis establishments and deliver, sell, or otherwise transfer cannabis and cannabis products to cannabis establishments and to consumers.
The commission may grant twenty-four (24) retail licenses, subject to the following restrictions:
- The retail licenses shall be issued to the below specific geographic zones:
- Zone 1: Burrillville, Cumberland, Glocester, North Smithfield, Smithfield, and the city of Woonsocket
- Zone 2: Johnston, Lincoln, and North Providence and the cities of Central Falls and Providence
- Zone 3: Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich, and West Warwick
- Zone 4: East Greenwich and North Kingstown and the cities of Cranston and Warwick
- Zone 5: Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, Richmond, South Kingstown, and Westerly
- Zone 6: Barrington, Bristol, Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, New SHoeham, Portsmouth, Tiverton and Warren and the cities of East Providence, Newport, and Pawtucket
- No more than four (4) retail licenses exclusive of any hybrid retail certificate (dual-use licensees) shall be permitted in each geographic zone; and
- Of the four (4) retail licenses in each geographic zone:
- One shall be reserved for a workers’ cooperative applicant; and
- One shall be reserved for a social equity applicant*
Testing Laboratory License: third-party analytical testing laboratory that is licensed annually by the commission, in consultation with the Department of Health, to collect and test samples of cannabis and cannabis products pursuant to regulations issued by the commission and is:
- Independent financially from any medical cannabis treatment center or any licensee or cannabis establishment for which it conducts a test; and
- Qualified to test cannabis in compliance with regulations promulgated by the commission.
RHODE ISLAND MEDICAL MARIJUANA BUSINESS LICENSES
There is a limited number of marijuana business licenses available in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Compassion Center: allowed to acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply, or dispense marijuana to registered qualifying patients and their registered primary caregivers who have designated the compassion center as one of their primary caregivers. Currently, there are only three (3) operating licensed compassion centers. On July of 2020, the department announced licensing six (6) additional compassion centers within the state. These additional six (6) licensed compassion centers will only be permitted to operate as a dispensary, and will be considered to allow for cultivation and manufacturing if there becomes a need for additional supply. The state will be accepting applications for the six (6) additional licenses from July 17, 2020 – December 15, 2020. The department will accept applications and issue these licenses through a fair and transparent lottery-based licensure process established.
Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Cultivator: allowed to acquire, possess, manufacture, cultivate, deliver, or transfer medical marijuana to licensed compassion centers and to another licensed medical marijuana cultivator. The department awarded 74 cultivator licenses and is no longer accepting applications to license additional cultivators.
HOW TO START A MARIJUANA BUSINESS IN RHODE ISLAND
To operate a marijuana business in Rhode Island, you will need the following plans:
- Security Plan
- Environmental Impact Plan
- Quality Control and Quality Assurance Plan
- Business Plan
- Financial Plan
- Community Benefits Plan
- Research Plan
- Cultivation, Manufacturing and/or Dispensing Plan
- Labor Compliance Plan
- Staffing and Training Plan
Schedule for a complimentary 15-min consult with our licensing/application expert to learn more about how we may be able to assist you. Need more help? Book an Hourly Rhode Island Cannabis Consultation today!
RHODE ISLAND MARIJUANA TIMELINE
2006 – Rhode Island legalized medical cannabis
2013 – First Rhode Island medical cannabis businesses opened, and medical cannabis sales began
2020 – State began accepting applications for additional medical marijuana compassion centers
2022 – Rhode Island legalized recreational cannabis
TBD – 24 new retail licenses to be distributed
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