Cannabis Business License in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Senate committee recently approved a cannabis legalization bill that is likely to eventually pass a legal marijuana market in the state. The current medical marijuana market in Rhode Island is limited, so a recreational market will help individuals have access to marijuana. We can expect more marijuana licenses to be available once the market is legal. A cannabis consultant in Rhode Island can help you write your application so that you can win a cannabis business license.

This bill allows adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Additionally, adults are able to cultivate up to 6 plants for personal use.

cannabis business license in rhode islandCurrent Medical Marijuana Market in Rhode Island

There are currently 3 medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island, and 64 cultivators. There is currently a limit on medical marijuana dispensaries, but no limit on cultivation facilities. As you can see, this causes a huge discrepancy in the dispensary to cultivation center ratio. However, a recreational market may alleviate this issue, and our cannabis consulting firm expects adult-use dispensaries in Rhode Island to be extremely profitable.

There are currently 19,300 medical marijuana patients in Rhode Island. This is a small percentage in comparison to the actual population in Rhode Island. With a legal adult-use cannabis market in Rhode Island, we can expect sales to skyrocket. Current medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island are expected to make $70-$85M by 2022.

Rhode Island Cannabis License Consultant and Expert

Source: MJ Biz 2021 Factbook

For more information about the Rhode Island marijuana market, check out the Marijuana Business Daily Factbook 2021.

Governing Body that Grades Cannabis Business Applications for Rhode Island

An established cannabis control commission is responsible for the scoring of cannabis business licenses in Rhode Island. This commission consists of 5 commissioners appointed by the governor. The commission has the power to:

  • Appoint officers and hire employees
  • Establish and amend a plan of organization
  • Execute all instruments necessary or reasonable for accomplishing the purposes of the bill
  • Apply for and accept subventions, grants, loans, advances, and contributions of money, property, labor, or other things of value from any source used and applied for its purposes
  • Prepare, publish and distribute studies, reports, bulletins, and other materials as the commission considers appropriate
  • Etc.

In regards to licensing, the commission requires an applicant for licensure to apply for such licensure and approve or disapprove applications for a cannabis license in Virginia. This includes determining which applicants shall be awarded licenses, establishing a registration process, and more.

With that, the commission also adopts rules and regulations consistent with the administration, clarification, and enforcement of provisions regulating and licensing cannabis establishments. This includes:

  • Scheduling application, license, and renewal fees
  • Making qualifications for licensure and minimum standards for employment that are related to the operation of a cannabis establishment
  • Providing procedures and policies to promote and encourage full participation in the cannabis industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition
  • Minimum standards for cannabis tracking, security requirements, liability insurance coverage

The cannabis advisory board will study and make recommendations to the Rhode Island cannabis control commission.

Adult-Use Cannabis Business Licenses Available in Rhode Island

Rhode Island offers multiple license types for cannabis businesses. This includes:

Cannabis Manufacturers/Wholesalers

A cannabis product manufacturer licensee can purchase cannabis from cultivators for processing and can only transfer or sell cannabis to other licensed entities. In order to qualify for this license type, you must:

  • Apply for a license in a manner prescribed by the commission
  • Provide proof that you are 21 and a resident of the state. You must also undergo a criminal record background check
  • Provide proof that you are in compliance with all tax rules and regulations
  • Submit the nonrefundable application fee and the annual fee
  • Prove that all employees comply with all rules and regulations adopted by the commission

There are also requirements for the packaging of cannabis and cannabis products that must:

  • Require the most current consumer product safety commission standards
  • Protect children from accidentally ingesting cannabis or cannabis products
  • Require the separation of each serving within a package containing multiple servings. This is so that the consumer can easily identify a single serving.
  • Prohibit the use of bright colors, cartoon characters, and other features that appeal to minors
  • Limit each serving size to no greater than 10mg of THC.

There are also requirements for the potency of marijuana products, and all products must contain a list of ingredients, the amount of THC content, the number of servings, and a use-by date.

If you have a cannabis manufacturer license in Rhode Island, you can not alter or utilize commercially manufactured food products. This is unless the food product was commercially manufactured specifically for the use by the cannabis product manufacturer to infuse with cannabis.

Additional information may be required for this license type. Make sure to talk to a cannabis consultant about the application process.

Marijuana Consultant in Rhode Island

Cannabis Cultivator Licenses in Rhode Island

Since there are already so many cultivation centers in Rhode Island, the state will put limitations on the number of licenses that can be issued. For example, there shall be no new cannabis cultivators’ licenses prior to July 1, 2023. However, this prohibition does not apply to cannabis cultivators licenses on or before July 1, 2021.

With that, the commission will promulgate regulations that govern how many immature and mature cannabis plants, how much wet cannabis, and how much usable cannabis a licensed cultivator can possess. Additionally, every cannabis plant possessed by a licensed cannabis cultivator must be tracked in a seed-to-sale tracking system.

Contact a cannabis consultant in Rhode Island for more information on how to track marijuana that is in accordance with regulations made by the commission.

Cannabis cultivators in Rhode Island have to be licensed to grow marijuana only at a location or locations registered with the cannabis commission. Additionally, the commission can make regulations on where cultivators are allowed to grow cannabis. So, if you have a cultivation license you must be aware of local and zoning ordinances.

Checklist of Qualifications for a Cannabis Cultivation License

In order to qualify for a cannabis cultivator license in Rhode Island, you must:

  • Apply for a license in a manner prescribed by the commission
  • Provide proof that the applicant is 21 years of age or older and is a resident of the state
  • Undergo a criminal record background check
  • Provide proof that the applicant is current and in compliance with all tax requirements
  • Pay the nonrefundable fee and any annual fees

Cultivation Tiers

Additionally, Rhode Island offers different cultivation tiers for cannabis cultivation. A cannabis cultivator is responsible for submitting an application for issuance of the proper tier license. Cannabis tiers are based on the square footage of the canopy. A cannabis consultant in Rhode Island can help you choose the best option for your cannabis business needs.

Also, the fees vary for indoor and outdoor cultivation. Indoor cultivation has higher fees than outdoor. Check out the chart below for a list of initial application fees for different cultivation tiers:

cannabis consulting firm in rhode island

In addition to the application fee, you have to pay an annual fee that also varies based on the Tier size. Annual fees are more costly than the initial application fee. For exact costs of annual fees, check out sections 21-28.11-8 of the bill.

Increasing Canopy Size for Cannabis Cultivation in Rhode Island

A licensed cannabis cultivator in Rhode Island has the ability to submit an application to change the tier in which the cultivation center is classified. With that, you can either increase or decrease production.

The commission reviews the records of cannabis cultivators during the 6 months prior to the application for renewal for an indoor cultivation center. Unless you have a limited quantity license or tier 1 license, the commission can reduce the cultivator maximum canopy to a lower tier if the cultivator sold less than 70 percent of what is produced during the 6 months prior to application for renewal for an indoor cultivator. If you have an outdoor cultivation center, the commission will evaluate your sales during the harvest season prior to the application for renewal.

The commission looks at the following factors to determine whether or not you qualify for a canopy reduction or increase:

  • Cultivation and production history
  • Tax payment history
  • Existing inventory and inventory history
  • Sales contracts
  • Any other relevant factors

For more information about a cannabis cultivation license in Rhode Island, contact our cannabis consulting firm.

Marijuana Consultant in Rhode Island

Cannabis Retail Store License

A cannabis retailer in Rhode Island can purchase and deliver cannabis and cannabis products from cannabis establishments and deliver, sell or transfer marijuana to marijuana establishments and consumers.

Additionally, the commission determines the maximum number of licenses for dispensaries in Rhode Island. However, a minimum of 3 licenses for retail sales of cannabis is granted for issuance in each municipality. This is except for any municipality which has elected against the granting of any licenses.

The qualifications for a retailer license in Rhode Island are similar to the licenses mentioned above.

Labor Peace Requirements for Cannabis Business Retail Licenses in Rhode Island

Additionally, for all cannabis business retailer licenses in Rhode Island, the commission requires all applicants for cannabis retail store licenses to submit an attestation signed by a bona fide labor organization. This attestation needs to state that the applicant has entered into a labor peace agreement. The maintenance of a labor peace agreement must be an ongoing material condition for the cannabis retailer licensee.

If you do not enter or make a good faith effort to enter into an agreement within 200 days of the opening of an establishment of a licensed cannabis retailer, your license will be suspended.

Score High on a Retail Cannabis License Application in Rhode Island

In ranking retail cannabis applications in Rhode Island, the commission gives priority to the following:

  • First, applicants that include a significantly involved person or persons lawfully residing in Rhode Island for at least 5 years as of the date of the application
  • Secondly, applicants that are party to a collective bargaining agreement with a labor organization that currently represents, or is actively seeking to represent cannabis workers in Rhode Island.
  • Thirdly, applicants that are a party to a collective bargaining agreement with a labor organization that currently represents cannabis workers in another state.
  • Fourthly, applicants that submit an attestation stating they will use the best efforts to utilize building trades’ labor organizations in the construction or retrofit of facilities associated with the licensed entity
  • Lastly, applicants that submit an attestation stating they have a project labor agreement, or will utilize a project labor agreement. This needs to be a form of a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement that covers the terms and conditions of a specific project. Also, this needs to include labor issues and worker grievances associated with any construction or retrofit of facilities, or other applicable projects.

Not sure about how to rank high based on the above terms? Contact our cannabis consultants in Rhode Island, our team of application writers are experts in labor peace agreements. We can help you reach all of these qualifications.

Independent Testing Laboratory License in Rhode Island

Another cannabis business license in Rhode Island includes a testing lab license. This license type allows you to sample, test, and analyze cannabis. This includes finished cannabis products and cannabis products in consultation with the department of health.

The regulations for testing cannabis are based on the most recent standards as issued by the United States Pharmacopeial Convention. Additionally, these regulations will address sampling and analysis to characterize the cannabinoid profile and biological and chemical contaminants. This includes terpenoids, pesticides, plant growth regulators, metals, microbiological contaminants, mycotoxins, and residual solvents.

Cannabis testing labs need to report any results that indicate contamination to the commission, the Department of Health, and the Department of Environmental Management within 72 hours of identification.

With that, if you decide to apply for this license type, you need to be familiar with all testing procedures. Our cannabis consultants in Virginia can help you write your business plan and build a team of experts so that you can win a license.

Multiple Licenses in Rhode Island

Lastly, you can not have multiple licenses in Rhode Island.  So, no person or entity can have more than one license. With that, a licensee can not own, control, manage or operate any other entity.

Application and Licensing Fees

If you want a cannabis manufacturer license in Rhode Island, the nonrefundable application fee is $300 and the annual licensing fee is $5,000.

For a cannabis retailer license in Rhode Island, the nonrefundable application fee is $500 and the annual licensing fee is $20,0000.

The application fee for a testing facility is $300 and the annual licensing fee is $5,000.

Lastly, the application and licensing fees vary for cultivation centers based on tiers. For example, for a tier 1 license, the indoor application fee is $80 and the outdoor application fee is $40. The indoor annual licensing fee is $250 and the outdoor is $100. Refer to the section on cannabis cultivators in Rhode Island for more information.

Engage our cannabis consultants in Rhode Island for more information about these fees.

Tax Rates for Marijuana in Rhode Island

There are specific tax rates for sales excise taxes for marijuana in Rhode Island.

A state cannabis excise tax will equal to 10 percent of each retail sale. Additionally, a local cannabis excise tax will equal to 3 percent of each retail sale.

The commission will annually review tax rates and make recommendations to the general assembly.

No fee, tax, charge of expense can be assessed or collected from a licensed individual. This is except for local cannabis excise tax and any other fee, tax, charge, or expense collected from residents or businesses located within the municipality.

Tips for Winning a License

As you can see, there is a lot of information to process when applying for a cannabis business license in Rhode Island. This is why it is important to engage a cannabis consultant in Rhode Island to assist you with application writing. Here are some tips on winning a license:

  1. Read the bill. This is where most of the rules and regulations. It is extremely important for you to be familiar with state laws for cannabis and cannabis businesses.
  2. Choose the cannabis license you want. Remember, the licenses available in Rhode Island include: Cannabis Manufacturing License, Cannabis Retailer License, Cannabis Testing License, and a Cannabis Cultivation License
  3. Form a business entity, and raise capital. Talk to our cannabis consultants for additional assistance.
  4. Secure real estate space and choose the municipality in which you want to apply in. Make sure that your desired municipality does not ban cannabis establishments.
  5. Engage a cannabis consultant. Quantum 9 makes sure that your application exceeds expectations required by the commission
  6. Lastly, have our cannabis application writers write the application for you so that you can win a license.

Marijuana Consultant in Rhode Island

Additional Information from our Rhode Island Cannabis Consulting Firm

Possession Limit and Personal Cultivation for Adult-Use Market in Rhode Island

To begin with, a person 21 years of age or older can not be arrested, prosecuted, penalized, sanctioned, or disqualified under the laws of the state in any manner, or denied any right or privilege and can not be subject to seizure or forfeiture of assets for:

  • First, possessing, using, purchasing marijuana from a licensed cannabis retailer, or possessing one ounce or less of cannabis, except that not more than 5 grams of cannabis can be in the form of a concentrate
  • Secondly, within the individual’s primary residence, possessing, cultivating, or processing not more than 6 cannabis plants. This is as long as not more than 12 plants are cultivated on the premises at once for personal use and all security requirements are complied with.
  • Thirdly, possessing up to 10 ounces within the person’s primary residence
  • Fourthly, giving away or transferring without remuneration up to one ounce of cannabis

Expungable Crimes with Legal Adult-Use Market in Rhode Island

With an adult-use market, some previous marijuana records qualify for expungement.

For example, any person who has been convicted of possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana can file a petition for an expedited expungement of the marijuana conviction record.

Within 90 days of the receipt and filing of the completed petition, the court reviews the records for all convictions for possession of two ounces of marijuana and all civil adjudications for possession of one ounce of marijuana or less and orders records subject to provisions.

Social Equity in Rhode Island

The state establishes within the general fund, a separate fund knows as the “social equity assistance fund.”

This fund consists of all monies received on account of the state as a result of an application for a licensing of individuals and entities.

This money is used for the implementation and administration of programming for restorative justice, jail diversion, drug rehabilitation, and education workforce development for jobs related to cannabis cultivation, transportation, distribution, and sales, mentoring services for economically disadvantaged persons in communities disproportionately impacted by high rates of arrest and incarceration for cannabis and direct financial assistance to economically disadvantaged persons to gain entry into the lawful cannabis business.

Additional Resources from our Cannabis Consultants in Rhode Island

Take a closer look at the adult-use cannabis regulation bill for Rhode Island here.

For more information about the current medical marijuana market, click here.

Not interested in the Rhode Island cannabis market? Check out these other cannabis license application opportunities.

Lastly, check out our cannabis consulting services.

Finally, Rhode Island is very likely to approve an adult-use market soon. Our cannabis consulting firm always recommends getting a head start on your application. We have the highest success rate in the industry and are eager to help you win a cannabis business license in Rhode Island.

More Articles related to Applying for Adult-Use Cannabis Licenses in Rhode Island:

Natalie Jachymiak

Author Natalie Jachymiak

Natalie is an author and marketing expert who covers topics related to business, policy, and licensing within the cannabis industry. She specializes in content creation, advertising, and public relations. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago majoring in Communications and Marketing.

More posts by Natalie Jachymiak

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