MJBizMag January 2023 - 39

Connecticut
Rhode Island
president of business development for
Colorado-headquartered consulting
firm Canna Advisors.
Wagener added that he expects
Rhode Island-like many other states
with adult-use marijuana-will issue
a first tranche of licenses and then
assess the demand in determining
future program needs. That said,
he believes the planned 35 retailers
" leaves room for growth. "
CRAFT OPPORTUNITIES
Another area where Levine sees growth
opportunities is in the craft-cultivator
license category, which already existed
under the medical program and is
expected to be allowed to continue in
Rhode Island's rec market.
Craft growers will likely face a
canopy-space cap, but they will not be
subject to the moratorium that affects
larger medical cultivators.
RHODE ISLAND
SNAPSHOT*
Ballot initiative or legislation: Rhode Island became the 19th state to
legalize recreational cannabis when Gov. Dan McKee signed RI H7593,
the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, into law on May 25, 2022, one day
after it was passed by the state Legislature.
Regulatory agency: The governor will appoint a three-member
Cannabis Control Commission to issue recreational marijuana licenses
and regulate both adult-use and medical marijuana. A cannabis
advisory board will be established to make recommendations to the
commission, including regulations and the distribution of a social
equity assistance fund.
Business license types and fees: Existing medical cannabis operators
were eligible to obtain hybrid adult-use licenses on Dec. 1, launching
Rhode Island's recreational marijuana market. Each operator is required
to pay a $125,000 fee, which goes into a social equity fund.
The Cannabis Control Commission may recommend to the General
Assembly that licenses be issued for social consumption sites,
marijuana delivery services and other categories.
License caps: Yes. In all, 24 new retail licenses will be issued in six
geographic areas of the state. Rhode Island already has more than 60
medical cannabis cultivators. Those in good standing will be able to
grow for the adult-use market. Otherwise, the legislation imposes a
two-year moratorium on new cultivation licenses.
State tax requirements: Marijuana products will be taxed at 10% in
addition to the state tax rate of 7%, plus an additional 3% local tax.
Out-of-state applicants: Allowed, but 51% of any licensed cannabis
entity must be owned by a Rhode Island resident.
Product types allowed: All.
Sales launch: Beginning Dec. 1, existing medical cannabis
dispensaries (called compassion centers in Rhode Island), were
eligible to obtain hybrid licenses to begin adult-use sales by paying a
$125,000 fee into a social equity fund.
2022 population and patient numbers: As of September 2022,
there were 16,462 medical marijuana patients, accounting for about
1.6% of the state's population of nearly 1.1 million.
Predicted size of market: Adult-use marijuana sales were expected
to reach $80 million during the first year of sales and up to
$300 million by the fourth year, according to MJBizDaily estimates.
Local control and opt-in/opt-out rules: Municipalities can opt out
of the adult-use program, except in areas that already have MMJ
dispensaries. But the opt-outs haven't been much of an issue.
When the market launched on Dec. 1, nearly 85% of the state's
municipalities had opted in.
Social equity provisions: The program sets aside 25% of new retail
licenses for social equity applicants and another 25% for workerowned
cooperatives. Social equity programs will include fee waivers,
grants and technical assistance.
* Data is from the 2022 MJBiz Factbook, MJBizDaily and MJBizMagazine,
unless otherwise noted.
Jon
Levine
Alabama
Mississippi
to monopolize the market, thereby
leaving room for small operators.
" I think you'll see a good mixture in
Rhode Island of support for the smaller
businessman to have an opportunity in
that market, " Levine said.
" These craft growers are a market
that you're going to see probably
grow a lot more, as there's a limited
amount of flower to supply all these
dispensaries. And that will make it
an exciting opportunity even for a
company like us, " MariMed's Levine
said. " I think you'll see some more
craft growers coming into that market.
It's a good win for the state, but it's an
opportunity for the smaller individual
to be successful. "
Levine noted that no person or
entity may hold more than one license,
which means MSOs won't be able
THE INVESTMENT WAY IN
With limited license opportunities,
the best way for out-of-state entities
to get into the Rhode Island market
would be as investors, Wagener said.
Lengthening the odds against
small or medium-sized operators are
big companies that in the previous
license lottery round paid for multiple
submissions to improve their chances.
" In every lottery, it's all about
politics and proper answers to the
application. I don't think it's an
easy market to win in because of the
political landscape in Rhode Island, "
Levine said.
mjbizdaily.com | January 2023 39
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MJBizMag January 2023

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