Rhode Island to Select Six Medical Cannabis Providers in 2021

Rhode Island’s medical cannabis applications are in and the license lottery is set for sometime in 2021. Only six applicants will be selected.

Full story after the jump.

Rhode Island is relying on a lottery system to choose providers for its fledgling medical cannabis system and is expected to announce the winners sometime in 2021, the Boston Globe reports.

Although Rhode Island is limiting the number of “care facilities” to only six across the entire state — the state is divided into six zones with one care facility in each zone — the state had received 45 applications from 28 different non-profits by the December 15 deadline.

The names divulged on the applications contain a “who’s who” of lobbyists, current and ex-politicians, and business owners, the Globe reports. Many of them betting on eventually being the first in line for adult-use licenses, applicants paid a non-refundable $10,000 application fee and are expected to pay a $500,000 annual licensing fee to the state if they are selected.

“People are assuming that the compassion centers will be the exclusive sellers of recreational marijuana. It’s literally a roll of the dice, financially.” — Jeff Padwa, cannabis attorney, via the Boston Globe

Despite New Jersey, Massachusetts, and other East Coast states having legalized adult-use cannabis, the issue is not a slam dunk in Rhode Island. COVID-19 put a damper on Gov. Gina Raimondo’s (D) plans to propose a regulated market in 2020. Now, the incoming Speaker of the House Joseph Shekarchi says he is not ready to “endorse a plan,” nor would he “bet the farm” on adult-use cannabis coming to Rhode Island in 2021.

A 2017 poll revealed 59% of Rhode Islanders supported legalizing adult-use cannabis. 36 percent said they were opposed to the move.

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