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rhode island

How to open a Dispensary in Rhode Island


In 2006, the Rhode Island legislature overrode the Governor’s veto to pass the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, authorizing medical marijuana use. In 2009, the Ocean State amended the Act to authorize the creation of state-licensed compassion centers where medical marijuana could be sold. In 2016, legislators overhauled the system with Article 14, in particular introducing a new medical marijuana cultivator license and eliminating commercial sales by caregivers. The cannabis medical program is governed by the Office of Cannabis Regulation.


On May 25, 2022, Rhode Island legalized adult-use marijuana and is now legal everywhere cigarettes are permitted. Adults age 21 and older now can possess up to an ounce of cannabis, and may grow cannabis within their primary residence as stated in bill H7593.  Retail sales may begin as early as Dec. 1, 2022.


H7593 is the bill that passed during the 2022 congressional session that legalized adult-use sales of cannabis inside of Rhode Island. Being dubbed "The Rhode Island Cananbis Act" H7593l outlines the framework in which recreational cannabis dispensaries will use to operate in the state. This also includes provisions to give athority to the Rhide Island Cannabis Commission to regulate and encforce licensure within the state.

Rhode island Cannabis Control CommisSion

Rhode Island's Cannabis Control Commission was created as the regulatory body of recreational and medical cannabis. On May 19th, 2023, Gov. Dan McKee, appointed 3 individuals to oversee the commission. With 70+ licesensee's to oversee in the state they are enforcing industry and product standards in the state.

Is Cannabis Legal in Rhode Island?

Yes, cannabis is legal in Rhode Island for adults 21 and over. Adult-use marijuana is now being sold in dispensaries wich started on Dec.1 2022. As a Rhode Island resident you may now possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis and may grow in your residence.

How much Does it Cost to Open a Dispensary in Rhode Island?

To open a dispensary in Rhode Island, it will cost $30,000 for licensing annually. Typically, a budget of between $400,000 and $1,000,000 would be required to open a dispensary in Rhode Island, depending on facility size, operations, and location.

Available Cannabis Licenses in Rhode Island

Adult-Use Cannabis Cultivators

The Cannabis Control Commission of Rhode Island has not specified whether or not they intend on releasing new cultivator licenses. They will having a hearing no later than May 1, 2024 to determine it more cultivation licenses are needed.

Adult-Use Hybrid Cannabis Cultivators

 To open a hybrid cannabis cultivation facility in Rhode Island you must already own a existing medical cannabis facility. This license is for the current medical market cannabis license to be able to sell to adult use manufacturer licenses.

Adult-Use Cannabis Manufacturers

Manufacturers, processors, and wholesalers fall under this category of licensure. The cannabis control commission states that the above categories falls under adult-use cannabis manufacturers license. Fees have not yet been decided for this license type please check back later for updates.

Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensary

To open a dispensary in rhode island applicants will be to be a resident of the state and pay a $30,000 annual fee. Dispensaries will be divided into zones with a max of 24 retail licenses available within the entire state of Rhode Island.

Hybrid Cannabis retailers

To open a hybrid cannabis retailer location in rhode island applicants must currently hold a compassion centre license and pay a $125,000 annual fee. This allows the compassion centers to sell to the adult-use market. Dispensary will be divided into zones will Hybrid Cannabis Retailers having a max of 4 per zone.

Rhode Island Cannabis Dispensary Zones

Below is a list of the geographic zones and the towns/cities that fall within them:

  • Zone 1: Burrillville, Cumberland, Glocester, North Smithfield, Smithfield, Woonsocket

  • Zone 2: Central Falls, Johnston, Lincoln, North Providence, Providence

  • Zone 3: Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich, West Warwick

  • Zone 4: Cranston, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Warwick

  • Zone 5: Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, Richmond, South Kingstown, Westerly

  • Zone 6: Barrington, Bristol, East Providence, Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, New Shoreham, Pawtucket, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Warren


In 2017, Rhode Island’s dispensaries saw medical marijuana revenues of about $30 million, with 30-percent growth projected for 2018. Rhode Island is home to over 18,000 registered medical marijuana patients as of 2018.

In 2018, the final version of the Rhode Island budget increased annual license fees for dispensaries from $5,000 to $250,000.

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how to start a marijuana business in rhode island

If you are just starting your marijuana business, the next best step is to visit the Green Rush Store to help educate your team and be ready to apply for a marijuana business license. If you are ready to apply for a Marijuana Business License in Rhode Island, please Contact us or call our offices to set an appointment to get started. You can also select another State Opportunity, or fill out our Contact Form to speak with one of our experts. Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to working with you.  

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