PROVIDENCE, R.I. (420CanNews) — Once a land of harsh cannabis prohibition, Rhode Island has officially entered a new era of recreational reefer freedom. Break out the bongs and get ready to burn one legally because the Rhode Island cannabis laws are a new high for the Ocean State.
After years of legislative debates, negotiations, and planning for the best regulations, state lawmakers passed bills to end weed prohibition. The Rhode Island cannabis laws have taken a new turn, as adult-use marijuana sales kicked off with five dispensaries serving those 21 and older. The “hybrid” medical-recreational shops, as they’re known, are the brainchild of Gov. Dan McKee and the state’s Department of Business Regulation (DBR).
State Sen. Josh Miller, an ardent supporter of the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, expressed hope that the move would help Rhode Island make its mark in the industry. He said, “It’s been a long road, and I hope it works for Rhode Island because we’ve been losing out to other states for quite a while now.”
On another note, Rep. David Morales has taken to sharing information about the basics of cannabis laws in Rhode Island. During a recent election, voters in more than 30 cities opted to allow cannabis businesses to operate within their jurisdictions. That’s almost every city that had the question on the ballot. Those that didn’t ask voters will allow marijuana marketplaces as well.
Rhode Island’s Recreational Dispensaries: A High Point of Interest
“Does Rhode Island have recreational dispensaries?” one may ask. Well, the answer is an astounding “Yes!” Rhode Island, the Ocean State, has taken a big leap into the cannabis revolution. It’s now peppered with many of these fresh, nature-loving dispensaries.
Not too long ago, Rhode Islanders had to squint across state lines with a touch of green envy. Now, they can waltz right into one of the five pilot dispensaries that have sprouted up like weeds.
The first five dispensaries to receive hybrid licenses under the Rhode Island cannabis act are:
- Aura of Rhode Island (Central Falls)
- Thomas C. Slater Center (Providence)
- Mother Earth Wellness (Pawtucket)
- Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center (Portsmouth)
- RISE Warwick (Warwick)
However, only some things are as smooth as a drag from a freshly rolled joint. The overall licensing process has faced criticism over delays, and DBR only began accepting applications for existing dispensaries to become hybrid retailers.
Governor McKee has yet to appoint commissioners to oversee the regulation of the adult-use market despite recommendations from legislative leaders. And adding a bit of spice to the mix, McKee has been called to reject recommended appointees from House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi after a scandal involving one of his top aides.
Before these developments, Gov. McKee’s signed legislation allowed adults 21 and older in Rhode Island to grow six cannabis plants for personal use.
The journey to this point involved months of negotiations between lawmakers, advocates, stakeholders, and the governor’s office before a revised version of the legislation was introduced in May. But once the text was released, identical companion bills in both chambers advanced quickly through committee and were swiftly approved on the floor.
Meanwhile, other drug policies are also being reexamined in Rhode Island. A pair of drug decriminalization bills were introduced—one focused on psilocybin and buprenorphine—that would authorize doctors to prescribe psychedelic mushrooms.
The Rhode Island cannabis laws are sprouting new leaves. As the state navigates these changes, all eyes are on this pocket-sized powerhouse to see how it redefines its approach to cannabis commerce. It’s the best time for high-life adventures, indeed.
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— Story Filed By 420CanNews Staff
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