Several high-profile Rhode Islanders are investing in the state’s medical cannabis and hemp industries, according to a NewportRI.com report. Among the names linked to cannabis investments in the state are former CVS Health CEO Thomas Ryan, former gubernatorial candidate James Bennett, former Beacon President and CEO James Rosati, and the parents of professional golfer Brad Faxon.
Ryan, a longtime philanthropist in his home state, is listed on documents from CanWell, a spinoff of the Warwick-based Summit Medical Compassion Center, which hopes to lead the state’s “alternative dosage” medical cannabis market. So-called ‘alternative dosage’ companies are interested in other methods of ingesting cannabis besides smoking.
In 2014, CVS stopped selling tobacco products in its stores, but Ryan left the company in 2011.
Bennett ran for governor in 2002 but was handily defeated in the Republican primary by Donald Carcieri, who ultimately defeated Democrat Myrth York in the general election, according to state election data. Bennett also once headed the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority. Bennet indicated his daughter works in the medical cannabis space in Florida.
“Big tobacco, the pharmaceutical companies, they’ll all looking to get in. It seemed like a good, balanced investment.” – Bennett to NewportRI.com
Brothers Stephen and Gerald Harrington, a lawyer and Washington lobbyist and Democratic political fundraiser, respectively, are also listed on CanWell documents. Stephen told NewportRI.com that a family member undergoing chemotherapy for cancer “relied on” medical cannabis. He added that the people brought together at CanWell “are Rhode Island people.”
They understand this is a growth industry and they are committed to a best-practices approach,” Harrington said in the report.
Brad and Eileen Faxon, the parents of the Barrington native pro golfer who shares a name with his father, are linked to Kelsey Green, a Warwick-based cultivation firm which is yet to be fully licensed to operate, and affiliated company, Green Reservoir Inc, according to documents filed with the state Department of Business Regulation, outlined by NewportRI.com.
A bill to legalize adult cannabis use was introduced last year but never made it out of committee. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said earlier this year that she will include legalization in this year’s budget proposal.
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