Rhode Island Regulation and Compliance
Since the passing of the Rhode Island Cannabis Act in May 2022, the cannabis industry in the state has been set for a big shake-up.
As the laws and regulations continue to be formulated, we can only guess how the cannabis industry here will look a decade from now.
All will soon be revealed in terms of the regulations and compliance measures that businesses looking to enter the cannabis industry here will need to follow to secure and retain a cannabis business license.
The industry is set for a gradual ramping up of operations as, initially, medical cannabis cultivators will be able to cultivate and manufacture adult-use cannabis. Medical cannabis dispensaries (“compassion centers”) will also be able to convert to a hybrid license and begin adult-use sales from December 2022.
Rhode Island is also expected to issue 24 cannabis retail licenses to new applicants this year, which has created a buzz among new players wanting to enter the industry.
The cannabis business attorneys at Cannabis Law Solutions are keeping a close eye on developments and can provide informed advice on regulations and compliance if you are looking to set up a business in the state to take advantage of the opportunities available here.
Laws and regulations in Rhode Island
The finer details of how the cannabis industry in Rhode Island will be run have not yet been announced but we can all expect it to be tightly regulated.
The Rhode Island Cannabis Act is the key piece of legislation that guides the industry and it is a good idea to download and read the document if you are looking to enter the industry as a business owner. This will familiarize you with the main laws and regulations that govern cannabis businesses here.
The Office of Cannabis Regulation previously regulated the cannabis industry in the state, including the issuing of the two main types of cannabis licenses currently available here: the compassion center license and the cultivator’s license to supply the compassion centers.
The office, which is part of the Department of Business Regulation, was also responsible for the regulatory oversight of compassion centers, cultivators, and cooperative cultivations and the oversight of medical cannabis plant tagging requirements.
This is set to change under the new legislation…
Who will be responsible for the regulation of adult-use cannabis in Rhode Island?
As Rhode Island transitions from a state allowing only medical cannabis usage to one that has legalized adult-use/recreational cannabis, the governing bodies will also change.
Regulation and compliance matters will be enacted, monitored and enforced by the following three organizations:
- Cannabis control commission: this is a three-person commission chosen by the governor to look after the regulation of the cannabis industry and provide licenses (it will also now be in charge of regulating the medical cannabis program).
- Cannabis advisory board: this includes 11 voting members and eight non-voting members tasked with making recommendations to the state’s cannabis control commission. Five subcommittees within the board will include professionals in the fields of the cannabis industry, public health, public safety, minority and veteran-owned company involvement, social equity, local agriculture, and growing cooperatives.
- Cannabis office: this will be the new name of the Office of Cannabis Regulation. The cannabis control commission will allocate its duties and tasks related to the daily monitoring and enforcement of operational, procedural, and administrative aspects of the cannabis industry.
The Rhode Island Cannabis Act
As mentioned, the Rhode Island Cannabis Act was signed into law in May 2022, legalizing and securely regulating adult recreational use of cannabis in the state.
In doing so, Rhode Island became the nineteenth state to legalize adult-use cannabis.
As well as providing guidelines for the regulation of Rhode Island’s cannabis industry to address health and safety concerns, the Act provides for the automatic expungement of any previous penalties related to cannabis possession.
As it stands, the Rhode Island Cannabis Act provides for a maximum of 33 retail licenses to be dispersed throughout six zones around the state. This includes the state’s three current medical cannabis dispensaries and the six recently awarded compassion centers at various stages of planning — so there will be 24 new retail dispensaries.
The Cannabis Control Commission will decide to who these additional licenses are awarded, based on the applications received.
If you are thinking of applying for a cannabis business license here in Rhode Island, therefore, it is essential to submit a flawless application — which probably means taking legal advice…
How can our Rhode Island cannabis business attorneys help?
Whether you want to grow, process, or retail cannabis in Rhode Island, getting set up without the right legal advice is inadvisable.
Our attorneys can provide the knowledge and support you need to plan, incorporate and grow your cannabis business — starting with your application for a cannabis business license.
For informed legal advice, call 866-329-0729 for a consultation with a knowledgeable cannabis attorney at Cannabis Law Solutions.
How will our cannabis services help you?
Cannabis business entity formation
Whether you are looking to form a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, our experienced business lawyers can discuss the pros and cons of both and help you incorporate your business with the optimal structure to achieve your goals.
Cannabis business licenses
If you want to run a cannabis business, you will need a valid business license issued by your state authority as well as local permits. Eligibility criteria are likely to be stringent and we can help you navigate the often-complex license application process.
Cannabis corporate documentation
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 administrative law
State authorities watch licensed and unlicensed cannabis businesses closely. If you violate regulations, you could face an administrative penalty. Our attorneys can provide representation or help you prepare for an administrative hearing, settlement conference or appeal.
Cannabis disputes and litigation
Whether you have a dispute with another business, a legal issue with one of your partners or a licensing or administrative issue, you may need legal assistance to help resolve it. We are adept at alternative dispute resolution methods as well as civil litigation.