Licensed sales of adult-use cannabis began in Rhode Island on Thursday, just six months after Gov. Dan McKee signed into law legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. Five stores will begin selling adult-use cannabis on December 1, with more licensed retailers expected to open in the coming weeks.
All five retailers that began selling adult-use cannabis on Thursday are already licensed to sell medical marijuana to patients enrolled in state medical cannabis programs. By the end of next month, two so-called hybrid retailers will add recreational marijuana sales to their existing medical cannabis operations.
Last week, the governor marked the imminence of adult-use cannabis sales as the December 1 launch date approaches.
“This milestone is the result of a carefully executed process to ensure the state’s entry into this emerging market was done in a safe, controlled and equitable manner.” Mackie said In a November 22 statement from the Governor’s Office. “It’s also a win for our statewide economy and our strong, locally rooted cannabis supply chain, which consists of nearly 70 licensed growers, processors and manufacturers, in addition to licensed compassion centers. We thank the General Assembly for their leadership in passing this Pragmatic Implementation Framework in the Rhode Island Cannabis Act and look forward to continuing to work together on this issue.”
Recreational Marijuana Legalized in May
Matt Santa Claus, director of the Rhode Island Department of Cannabis Control and interim deputy director of the Business Regulation Department, said state regulators will continue to allow recreational marijuana after McKee signed into law in May to legalize adult-use marijuana. He noted the speed with which he approved the start of the sale of marijuana for use.
“We are pleased with the quality and comprehensiveness of the applications we have received from the State Center for Compassion and are proud to be able to begin adult-use sales in Rhode Island just six months after the Cannabis Act was signed into law. I think this marks the fastest implementation period in the Northeast,” said Santa Claus. “We look forward to continuing to work with the state’s cannabis business community to ensure that this important economic sector expands in compliance with the rules and regulations put forward by state regulators.
Medical marijuana has been legal since 2006, and recreational cannabis is available in neighboring states, so state officials aren’t expecting a surge in cannabis use.
“This is an opportunity for Rhode Islanders to purchase safe, regulated cannabis products conveniently located in their towns and communities across the state.” santa claus said of boston globe“If you’re used to going to Massachusetts or anywhere else, you’ll save time and gas. It will generate national and local tax revenue like never before. And the opportunity to capture value in markets, industries and supply chains.” There is a big deal.
State law allows adults to smoke cannabis wherever tobacco smoking is permitted, except where it might harm a child. The law passed in May also includes provisions to expunge previous cannabis possession offenses that are no longer illegal under current law.
Tax on Recreational Weeds Total 20%
Taxes on recreational sales include a 7% state sales tax plus a 10% state cannabis sales tax and an additional 3% local tax for the city or town where the sale takes place. Taxes on recreational marijuana sales are expected to generate approximately $15 million in tax revenue for the first full fiscal year of sales. State officials expect regulated marijuana sales to be approximately $7.5 million in state sales tax revenue, $5.2 million in state sales tax revenue, and $2.2 million in local excise tax revenue.
Pawtucket-based cannabis retailer Mother Earth Wellness is opening three hours earlier than its usual 8 a.m. opening time to jump on the first day of legal sales of recreational marijuana, opening the store’s first recreational marijuana. The deal rang at 5:18 am. About 300 customers visited the dispensing pharmacy by the morning.
“We had a very successful day” Co-Owner of Mother Earth Wellness Joe Pacris said Associated Press. “I think it’s been a smooth transition and the state has done a great job rolling out this program. Everything is great.”