Rhode Island will start selling adult-use cannabis on December 1st

Adults in Rhode Island will be able to legally buy marijuana starting next week.

The state announced Tuesday that recreational cannabis sales there will begin on December 1.

“This milestone is the result of a carefully conducted process to ensure our state’s entry into this emerging market is done in a safe, controlled and equitable manner,” Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee said in a statement. “It’s also a win for our nationwide economy and our strong, locally based cannabis supply chain, which consists of nearly 70 licensed growers, processors and manufacturers in addition to our licensed compassion centers. In closing, I thank the leadership of the General Assembly for adopting this practical implementation framework in Rhode Island’s cannabis law and look forward to continuing our work together on this issue.”

McKee, a Democrat, signed the Rhode Island cannabis law into law in May after members of the state General Assembly passed the law.

The governor said at the time that the legislation “successfully addresses our priorities of ensuring that cannabis legalization is equitable, controlled and safe.”

“In addition, a procedure for the automatic overturning of previous cannabis convictions will be created. My government’s original legalization plan also contained such a provision, and I am delighted that the Assembly has recognized the importance of this particular issue. The end result is a win for our state, both socially and economically,” McKee said in a statement at the time.

According to a statement from McKee’s office in May, the measure calls for “a 20 percent tax rate, split between the 7 percent sales tax, a new 10 percent cannabis tax, and a 3 percent tax by the municipality in which the marijuana is sold.” while “making numerous investments in creating an equitable, accessible cannabis retail market by setting aside certain application fee revenues and reserving a portion of new licenses for social justice applicants and worker-owned coops.”

The bill’s backer, Democratic Rep. Scott A. Slater, said at the time that the “social justice” component of the legislation was one of the most important considerations for lawmakers, noting that he “represents some of the communities that have suffered disproportionate damage.” by decades of prohibition, leading to generational poverty and mass incarceration.”

“The starting line is not the same for people in poor, urban and minority communities, and they deserve support to ensure they get the full benefits of participating in legalization. I am grateful to my colleagues in the General Assembly for recognizing the importance of criminal record cleaning and justice in licensing, as they are absolutely critical to ending prohibition fairly,” Slater said.

In Tuesday’s press release, McKee’s office said five medical cannabis companies have received licenses to begin selling adult-use marijuana: Aura of Rhode Island (Central Falls); Thomas C. Slater Center (Providence); Wellness of Mother Earth (Pawtucket); Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center (Portsmouth); and RISE Warwick (Warwick).

“We have been pleased with the quality and completeness of the applications we have received from the state’s compassion centers, and we are proud to begin selling adult-use products in Rhode Island just six months after the signing of the Cannabis Act, which the represents the fastest phase of implementation in the Northeast,” said Matt Santacroce, who serves as interim deputy director of the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation. “We look forward to continuing to work with the state’s cannabis business community to ensure this important sector of the economy scales in accordance with the rules and regulations of state regulators.”

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