Rhode Island’s first legal weed shops open to eager shoppers

Five facilities opened their doors to all adults this morning, operating as hybrid medical and adult pharmacies for the first time.

As of Thursday morning, Rhode Island became the nation’s 15th state to open legal cannabis stores for adult use. Delighted shoppers braved 30-degree temperatures to experience some of New England’s most breathtaking cannabis storefronts. Dressed for the weather in down jackets, knit hats and gloves, Rhode Island’s early risers got the bud at the first inaugural donations of Mother Earth Wellness in Pawtucket and RISE in Warwick.

Mother Earth Wellness opened early Thursday at 5:00 am. The dispensary welcomed the state’s first customer, Karen Ballou, a local grower who told WPRI, “It’s very exciting, it’s been a long time coming… It’s taken a long six, six and a half years to get to this point all of us to get to that point, so it was important to be the first sale,” Ballou said.

Joe Pakuris is co-owner of Mother Earth Wellness, a vertical company with the state’s only licensed hydrocarbon extraction laboratory. Pakuris told Leafly shortly after it opened that there were no lines yet, but based on pre-registrations and email inquiries, they expect a total of 1,000 to 2,000 customers on day one.

“We are very excited. We feel blessed to have the opportunity to service the Rhode Island market and showcase all of the state’s top producers.”

Joe Pakuris, co-owner of Mother Earth Wellness

RISE opened at 6am in Warwick with a ribbon cutting, live music and treats. The company’s New Jersey location provided similar fun at dawn when stores opened there in April.

“Every product previously available for medical patients is now available for adults,” said Anthony Georgiadis, CFO of RISE, at the launch. The nation’s smallest state is expected to generate $300 million from cannabis sales in its first few years of adult use.

Georgiadis explained, “Every product previously available for medical patients is now available for adults.” He said RISE is ready for a rush with “a ton of flowers, a ton of pre-rolls, a ton of edibles.”

More than 30 stores will eventually be licensed, but the rollout will be gradual. Today’s opening was limited to these stores:

Here’s what beginners should expect

(Mother Earth Wellness)

Pakuris advises first-time patients to be prepared to wait for paperwork to be processed. Customers used by adults only require government-issued ID and have the option to pay by debit, credit or cash (ATM available on site).


Rhode Island weed shops open December 1st. Here’s how to find them

If you’re standing in line in Rhode Island…

Let us entertain you and enlighten you about the new rules. If this is your first time in a legal cannabis store, you should probably read up on vape pens:

And you’ll definitely want to know about edibles and how to dose them:

What are Rhode Island’s new weed laws?

Under the new law, possession and home cultivation of cannabis is now legal for adults over the age of 21.

Where can you legally smoke weed in Rhode Island?

Adults can smoke cannabis anywhere it is legal to smoke tobacco. That means smoking and vaping is banned on school campuses and correctional facilities, as well as in cities and communities that choose to deny or ban smoking in certain locations. Providence, Rhode Island last month added cannabis to an existing smoking ban in public parks.

Landlords can also ban smoking and vaping depending on the lease. But they can’t ban eating edibles or simply possessing cannabis on their property if the amount is below the legal limits of 10 ounces at home or 28 grams in public.

It is illegal to smoke weed and drive a car

Possession of cannabis while driving will result in a six-month driver’s license suspension. Rhode Island has a strict “drug driving law,” which states that no one may drive a motor vehicle if they have a detectable amount of cannabis or an “illegal drug” in their system.

How will Rhode Island tax legal weed sales?

A 20% tax is levied on cannabis revenue. The allocations will be split between the 7% sales tax, a new 10% cannabis tax and a 3% tax of the municipality where the product is sold.

Governor looking forward to opening day

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee made this statement at the opening of the adult retail market on December 1: “This milestone is the result of a carefully conducted process to ensure our state’s entry into this emerging market was safe, controlled and fair,” McKee said. “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.”

We don’t have confirmation, but it’s traditional for the governor of a newly incorporated state to stop by a store for a small press event. The best choice will probably be the Thomas C. Slater Center in Providence. They open at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Stay tuned for more updates on The Ocean State opening day.

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