Rhode Island Cannabis Licenses

The competition for Rhode Island cannabis licenses is fierce, with only a limited number of licenses made available in the first rollout.

With cannabis retail sales scheduled to be legal from the end of the year in Rhode Island, growers, manufacturers and retailers are gearing up for the license application process. But it can be arduous with no guarantee of success — and mistakes can lead to costly delays or legal issues.

Your best chance is with the advice and assistance of a Rhode Island cannabis attorney with experience in licensing issues.

At Cannabis Law Solutions, we have followed the legalization process in Rhode Island closely and have built a comprehensive understanding of the various laws. We have assisted many entrepreneurs around the country to enter the cannabis industry in recent years.

We can help you capitalize on the business opportunities here for growers, manufacturers, and retailers — starting with securing a business license.

Rhode Island Cannabis Licenses 

Types of Rhode Island cannabis business licenses

Prior to the legalization of adult-use cannabis in May 2022, Rhode Island allowed only limited medical-use cannabis in so-called “compassion centers” dotted across the state. Licenses were issued for this and for cultivators supplying these centers, the first of which opened in 2013.

Under the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, five types of adult-use cannabis business licenses have been made available in the state:

  • Cultivator
  • Product manufacturer (or Processor)
  • Hybrid retailer (medical and adult-use cannabis)
  • Retailer
  • Testing laboratory

Each type of business license permits only certain operations within the cannabis industry. To determine the license type best suited to your intended business, speak to one of our cannabis business attorneys.

Eligibility for a cannabis license in Rhode Island

To apply for a cannabis business license in Rhode Island, you must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:

  • You (and all owners) must be over the age of 21
  • You (and all owners) must be free of disqualifying convictions
  • Your business must comply with all tax obligations

What other license requirements and selection criteria apply?

Besides the basic eligibility requirements to apply for a cannabis business license, you will need to submit a variety of documentation to demonstrate that you intend to run a lawful and safe business that is of benefit to Rhode Island state.

The application instructions have not been finalized but the Rhode Island Cannabis Act demands that aspiring cannabis business owners submit the following with their applications, (at a minimum):

  • Your operating/business plan
  • An inventory tracking plan
  • A financial plan
  • A security and safety plan
  • Proof of compliance with state and local regulations
  • Local municipal approval

The precise documents you will need are best discussed with one of our Rhode Island cannabis license attorneys…

Financial requirements for a Rhode Island cannabis license

No minimum capital requirement applies in Rhode Island when applying for a cannabis license.

However, when you apply, you are expected to demonstrate that you have the significant financial resources required to operate a business for the first two or three years — with proof of a certain level of liquidity, cash on hand, and/or CPA and/or bank letters.

High costs are associated with operating cannabis businesses and the Cannabis Control Commission, which oversees the industry in Rhode Island, will want assurances that you can meet your financial obligations.

You will need to disclose the financial situation of all owners and investors in your application.

Real estate and zoning in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has set requirements for cannabis businesses to be located at least 1,000 feet from schools.

Local municipalities will also implement further zoning restrictions that are yet to be decided. Your cannabis attorney will be familiar with the relevant real estate and zoning restrictions and be able to advise you accordingly on the location of your business.

You are required to already possess real estate during the cannabis license application process and six different regions within Rhode Island have been defined.

The six cannabis retail license zones in Rhode Island

The limited cannabis retail licenses available for Rhode Island will be spread around six distinct geographic zones within the state.  These zones are as follows:

  • Zone 1: Burrillville, Cumberland, Glocester, North Smithfield, Smithfield and Woonsocket.
  • Zone 2: Johnston, Lincoln, North Providence, Central Falls, and Providence.
  • Zone 3: Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich, and West Warwick.
  • Zone 4: East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Cranston, and Warwick.
  • Zone 5: Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, Richmond, South Kingstown and Westerly.
  • Zone 6: Barrington, Bristol, Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, New Shoreham, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Warren, East Providence, Newport, and Pawtucket.

You will need to apply for a business license to operate in the corresponding geographical zone where your business is to be located.

How can our Rhode Island cannabis license attorneys help?

Whether you want to grow, manufacture or retail cannabis in Rhode Island, getting set up without the right legal advice is asking for trouble.

The license application process is complex and competitive, with a limited number of licenses available.

Besides these challenges, if you are awarded a license, the eyes of the entire state will be on you so it’s important to be able to navigate the legal hurdles that arise.

Our attorneys can provide the knowledge and support you need to plan, incorporate and grow your cannabis business — starting with your application for a Rhode Island cannabis license.

For informed legal advice, call 866-329-0729 for a consultation with a knowledgeable cannabis attorney at Cannabis Law Solutions.

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Whether you need to prepare for a license application, transfer of business ownership, change of corporate structure, transfer business location or another business process, we can help you identify and draft the documentation you need to operate legally in your state.

Cannabis & psychedelics administrative law

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