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Cannabis Culture

Rhode Island Dispensary Owners Oppose Adding MMJ Operator Licenses

A Rhode Island dispensary spokesman seemed to offer the state help bridging its $5 million budget gap, so long as officials don’t add more operator licenses to the state medical cannabis program, the Providence Journal reports; however, he later clarified his comments, explaining that the dispensary was not offering money in exchange for limiting competition.

“We’re very sensitive to the state and its challenges. And if there is a way to find the $5 million that you need to plug the budget hole that you need for the coming fiscal year, we’d like to be part of the solution.” — Chris Reilly, spokesman for Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center, to the House Finance Committee, via the Journal

Regulators are considering increasing the number of dispensary licenses from three to 15, which they anticipate would raise $5 million.

Reilly suggested that if the state moves forward with adding the licenses the sustainability of their business would be threatened. He also said that legalization in Massachusetts “is a market force that’s going to strain [the Rhode Island] program considerably.”

Seth Bock, CEO of Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center, said in the report that expanding the number of licenses “would almost ensure that one, maybe two, dispensaries would go out of business.” He added that for every dollar the dispensary makes, 44 cents goes to surcharges and taxes.

“We’ve built an infrastructure around a volume of patients which for us, if eliminated, would mean we couldn’t operate.” — Bock, to the committee, via the Journal

Regulators have not yet finalized the plan, but it does have the support of Gov. Gina Raimondo.

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