Rhode Island officials on Friday awarded five new medical cannabis licenses for new dispensaries, WPRI reports. The lottery selected five companies from geographic zones in order to spread out the new providers.
RMI Compassion Center won the license for Woonsocket, along with Pinnacle Compassion Center in Central Falls, Green Wave Compassion Center in Foster, Solar Therapeutics in Cranston, and Plant Based Compassionate Care in South Kingstown. None of those municipalities currently have a dispensary as there are currently just three in the state in Providence, Warwick, and Portsmouth, the report says.
The lottery for a sixth zone was not included in Friday’s announcement due to an ongoing lawsuit by Atlas Enterprises LLC, which was disqualified because its application is for Newport which has banned cannabis operations. Atlas is appealing the disqualification and the lottery for the zone will take place once the case is adjudicated.
Another applicant was disqualified after admitting to paying a bribe to former Fall River, Massachusetts Mayor Jasiel Correia. In September, Correia was sentenced to six years in prison for extorting cannabis companies in exchange for non-opposition letters to allow cannabis companies to open shop in Fall River.
The lottery comes two-and-a-half years after lawmakers approved expanding the number of dispensaries in Rhode Island from three to nine. Lawmakers are also close to a deal to legalize cannabis for adults in the state, the report says, noting that the Senate passed the reforms earlier this year but it competed with Gov. Dan McKee’s proposal, and now key officials from the House, Senate, and Governor’s Office are negotiating a compromise.
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