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On May 25, 2022, Rhode Island became the 19th state to legalize adult-use cannabis after Governor Daniel McKee signed the “Rhode Island Cannabis Act” into law. Just one day earlier, the state’s General Assembly passed the bill.
Much of the law goes into effect on December 1, 2022, but a few changes went into effect immediately. If you’re a Rhode Island resident or just curious about new cannabis laws in the U.S., here is what you need to know about legal cannabis in the Ocean State.
Cannabis is Now Legal in Rhode Island
Cannabis possession is legal for adults 21 and older effective immediately. However, retail stores will not be operational until December 1, 2022.
Adults can possess up to one ounce of cannabis on their person and up to five grams of cannabis concentrate. They can possess up to ten ounces of cannabis at home if it is in a secure location. Possession of between one and two ounces of cannabis is a civil violation.
Effective immediately, adults can grow up to six plants at home (three mature and three immature).
When Can I Buy Cannabis in Rhode Island?
Retail sales will start on December 1, 2022, but it will take a while before most dispensaries are active.
The law allows for up to 33 dispensaries throughout six zones, including the three current compassion centers. Each zone can have four dispensaries, one reserved for social equity applicants and one for worker-owned cooperatives.
How Will Cannabis in Rhode Island Be Taxed?
Cannabis will be taxed at 20%, including a 10% cannabis tax, 3% local tax, and 7% sales tax.
Adults can transfer up to one ounce of cannabis to another adult.
The bill gives the courts until July 1, 2024, to automatically expunge all eligible individuals with a prior cannabis possession conviction. Intent to deliver and manufacturing convictions are not eligible for expungement. You can request to have your record expunged sooner if you go through an expedited process.
Smoking cannabis is prohibited in any public space prohibiting smoking or vaporizing tobacco products.
Most communities can opt out of commercial cannabis sales through a vote in November 2022. Communities that currently have medical cannabis dispensaries cannot opt out.
Any communities that opt out of the cannabis market are prohibited from getting tax revenue from the recreational cannabis market.
Who Will Regulate Cannabis in Rhode Island?
A three-member Cannabis Control Commission, a Cannabis Advisory Board, and the Cannabis Office will oversee medical and adult-use cannabis.
Cannabis establishments refer to a cannabis cultivator, independent testing laboratory, product manufacturer, retailer, hybrid retailer, or any other type of licensed cannabis-related business.
There will be a moratorium on issuing new cannabis grower licenses for two years following the establishment of the industry’s rules and regulations. Existing medical cannabis growers may be granted adult-use licenses.
Starting August 1, 2022, current medical cannabis compassion centers may obtain a hybrid license to sell adult-use cannabis by paying a $125,000 fee.
All retailers must enter into labor peace agreements with a labor union.
Are There Residency Requirements to Open a Cannabis Business?
License applicants must be Rhode Island residents or business entities that operate in the state. The majority of the business entity must be owned by Rhode Island residents.
How Far Does a Cannabis Business Have to Be From a School?
Cannabis establishments must not be located within 500 feet of a public or private school, unless the municipality reduces the distance requirement.
The law mandates the creation of a social equity assistance fund that will be used to give grants to social equity applicants to operate a cannabis business.
Most fees for medical cannabis patients have been eliminated, such as the registration, renewal, and plant tag fees.
Do you want to know the latest cannabis rules and regulations in your home state, province, territory, or country? Follow Cannabis Training University’s industry blog for updates on cannabis laws. For a comprehensive cannabis education, enroll in the Master of Cannabis Certification Program.