Rhode Island Launches Adult Use Market

Stephen Andrews
30 Nov 2022

Rhode Island is all set to commence adult-use retail of Cannabis. Sales officially start on December 1, with five medical cannabis dispensaries extending their offer to recreational. State regulators issued the call for applications for "hybrid retail licenses" in early October.

Rhode Island passed a bill that legalized the recreational use of marijuana earlier this year. It's one of several states across the U.S. kicking off a legal adult-use market in 2022. Montana, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Vermont all launched recreational sales during the past 12 months. Rhode Island and New York are the last two in the batch. 

Governor Dan McKee praised the transition to legal retail in a statement. "This milestone is the result of a carefully executed process to ensure that our state's entry into this emerging market was done in a safe, controlled and equitable manner," he said. 

"It is also a win for our statewide economy and our strong, locally based cannabis supply chain, which consists of nearly 70 licensed cultivators, processors and manufacturers in addition to our licensed compassion centers," McKee said. 

McKee's office said that five medical cannabis operators had been granted a license to extend their business with recreational sales. These include: 

  • Aura of Rhode Island (Central Falls), 
  • Thomas C. Slater Center (Providence),
  • Mother Earth Wellness (Pawtucket), 
  • RISE Warwick (Warwick), and 
  • Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center (Portsmouth)

The call for "hybrid retail licenses" took place in early October. 

"We were pleased with the quality and comprehensiveness of the applications we received from the state's compassion centers, and we are proud to launch adult use sales in Rhode Island just six months after the Cannabis Act was signed into law, marking the Northeast's fastest implementation period," said Matt Santacroce, a spokesperson from the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation. 

The legalization bill in The Ocean State also foresees the implementation of automatic expungement of past marijuana-related convictions. The measure will benefit over 25,000 individuals, erasing their cases from the state court system. Expungements are expected to take effect on July 1, 2024. 

Under the new laws, Rhode Island residents of legal age are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Homegrowing up to three mature and three immature plants is also allowed, as is the possession of no more than 10 ounces of cannabis at home. 

Stephen Andrews