Rhode Island Cannabis Market Opens to Recreational Customers Photo: James Lee/Unsplash
December 6, 2022

Rhode Island opened retail adult use cannabis sales last week, having awarded five medical cannabis “hybrid” licenses just last week, after passing adult use legalization in May 2022. The Office of Cannabis Regulation (OCR), under the state Department of Business Regulation, is responsible for licensing, regulatory oversight of “Compassion Centers” (medical cannabis dispensaries), cultivators, and cannabis plant tagging via the METRC system.

Licensed hybrid cultivators – those growing cannabis for medical and adult use markets – have had since August 2022 to grow supply for the adult use market, which can be intermingled with medical cannabis crops at the cultivator. On the retail side, Compassion Centers must have built out separate storage for cannabis products designated for the adult use market. Testing requirements for adult use cannabis will be the same as those for medical use cannabis.

Regarding “ingestible products,” previously designated medical edibles or ingestibles that have an allowance of 10 milligrams of THC and can be sold in packages of 100 milligrams, will now be available for adult use sales, as long as the seller makes these products “first and foremost available for patients.” OCR designates any ingestible product above the 10 milligram serving or 100 milligram package available to medical patients only. More information on the most recent rules can be found here.

According to Ganjaprenuer, Rhode Island will ultimately license 33 cannabis retail outlets and impose a 10% excise tax, in addition to the state’s 7% sales tax and up to 3% designated to municipalities where the cannabis business is located.

Cannabis Benchmarks is working to expand collection of price data in Rhode Island’s new adult use market. However, as the initial entrants to the recreational sector are all existing, vertically-integrated medical cannabis businesses, it is likely that operators are keeping their production in house to sell at associated dispensaries and not much, if any, wholesale trading is occurring currently. Due to these circumstances, the price volatility that frequently comes with the advent of adult use sales in a state may be delayed in Rhode Island until licenses are issued to new entrants.