R.I. opens application window for 6 new medical-marijuana dispensaries – The Providence Journal


Many of the 55 or so state-licensed cultivators who now grow medical marijuana for the three existing dispensaries have their eye on winning one of the licenses.

The state Department of Business Regulation will begin accepting applications Friday from businesses hoping to win a license to operate one of six additional medical marijuana dispensaries.

But it likely won’t be until the end of next year at the earliest before any of the applicants who eventually win one of the lucrative licenses — chosen through a lottery — is selling marijuana, DBR officials say.

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The DBR released regulations in March for how those new dispensaries must operate, with the expectation of opening the application period soon thereafter.

But the same week the new rules were made public — after a months-long power struggle between the governor and legislative leaders over who had final say over those regulations — the coronavirus struck.

The application period will be open through until Dec. 15.

The DBR wanted to give applicants ample time to select a location for their proposed dispensary, if they don’t have a location now, as well as give local governments time to hold public hearings on any proposal, said DBR Director Elizabeth Tanner and Pamela J. Toro, the department’s chief of legal services.

The DBR hasn’t set a date for the lottery, though officials have discussed how it might run with colleagues from the Rhode Island Lottery, said Toro.

“We’re going to have more information about the process once we have the chance to access the volume [of applicants],” Toro said on

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