Would you like to start a Rhode Island cannabis business? You’ll need to apply for and receive a marijuana business license in Rhode Island first. In this article, our Rhode Island cannabis consultants break down the license application process for you. We also provide you with a step-by-step guide on how you can win a license.

However, if you’d rather speak to our marijuana business consultants in Rhode Island directly, feel free to click the button below to schedule a free consultation.

Cannabis Business Consultant in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Cannabis Consultants

Laws and Regulations

To begin, as a future applicant, you should read the laws and regulations that govern Rhode Island’s cannabis industry. The Rhode Island Cannabis Act is the most important document for you to read.

Additionally, you should familiarize yourself with Rhode Island’s Office of Cannabis Regulation website. The Office will oversee the cannabis industry in the State, including the issuing of licenses.

Timeline for Rhode Island Cannabis Business Licensing

Rhode Island plans to start adult-use sales on December 1, 2022.

Medical marijuana cultivators will be able to cultivate and manufacture adult-use cannabis on August 1, 2022, to meet the planned start date. Similarly, medical cannabis dispensaries (aka compassion centers) in Rhode Island will have the option to convert to a hybrid license and begin adult-use sales on December 1, 2022. The application for compassion centers to convert to adult-use dispensaries in Rhode Island will open on October 15, 2022.

Rhode Island will likely also issue 24 cannabis retail licenses to new applicants during the Summer or Fall of 2022.

Types of Rhode Island Cannabis Business Licenses

Rhode Island will issue 5 types of adult-use marijuana business licenses. The 5 types of Rhode Island cannabis licenses are:

  • Cultivator
  • Product Manufacturer (aka Processor)
  • Hybrid Retailers
  • Retailer
  • Testing Laboratory

Each license allows you to conduct specific operations, so make sure you choose the license that matches the type of operation you’d like to run.

Eligibility

You can apply for a cannabis business license in Rhode Island if:

  • All of your owners are above the age of 21;
  • None of your owners have disqualifying convictions; and
  • Your applying entity is in compliance with all tax obligations.

It seems that Rhode Island residency is not a requirement for eligibility. So if you meet the criteria above, you can apply for a Rhode Island cannabis license. Now let’s analyze the application process.

Application Process

The first license application round for adult-use licenses will be for Rhode Island cannabis retail licenses. The State plans to issue 24 cannabis retail licenses to new applicants.

While the final application instructions are not published yet, the Act does provide information on what you’ll have to submit in your cannabis license application. Our Rhode Island cannabis consultants summarize the requirements below.

As part of your Rhode Island cannabis business license application, you will submit:

  • Operating Plan;
  • Inventory Tracking Plan;
  • Financial Plan;
  • Local Municipal Approval;
  • and more.

Interestingly, Rhode Island plans to issue four cannabis retail licenses in each “Geographic Zones” (see below for definition).

Geographic Zones for Rhode Island Marijuana Retail License Application

Rhode Island will issue cannabis retail licenses based on six geographic zones within the State. Each geographic zone will receive 4 new Rhode Island cannabis dispensaries.

Our Rhode Island cannabis consulting firm summarizes the six geographic zones below:

  • Zone 1 – Burriville, 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 apply in a specific geographic zone based on the location of your proposed facility. As such, you will compete against the other applicants for the 4 licenses available in the zone.

Have you written a cannabis license application in Rhode Island before? The process is complex and extremely competitive, especially since there is a limited number of licenses. Contact our Rhode Island cannabis license consultants to learn how we can help you win a license.

Fees

You must pay two fees to apply for and receive a Rhode Island cannabis business license:

  • Application Fee; and
  • Annual License Fee.

The application fee is non-refundable, but Rhode has not published the application fee yet (our Rhode Island marijuana consultants will update this section when the fees are published, so be sure to check back).

On the other hand, if you’re approved for a Rhode Island cannabis business license, you must pay a $30,000 annual fee (for retail licenses).

Preferred Applicants

Rhode Island will allocate a percentage of the licenses for specific types of applicants. More specifically, Rhode Island will issue:

  • 25% of marijuana business licenses to social equity applicants; and
  • 25% of marijuana business licenses to workers’ cooperative applicants.

Thus, to improve your chances of winning a license, you should consider applying as a social equity or workers’ cooperative applicant.

Our Rhode Island cannabis consulting firm defines both applicant types below for you.

Social Equity Applicants

Rhode Island has incorporated social equity into its cannabis industry. Essentially, social equity was created to give communities and individuals disproportionately impacted by the prohibition of cannabis a chance to benefit from the regulated cannabis market.

To qualify as a social equity applicant, your Rhode Island cannabis business must meet one of the following criteria:

  • (i) An applicant with at least fifty-one percent (51%) ownership and control by one or more individuals who have resided for at least five (5) of the preceding ten (10) years in a disproportionately impacted area.
  • (ii) An applicant with at least fifty-one percent (51%) ownership and control by one or more individuals who:
    • (A) Have been arrested for, convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for any offense that is
    • eligible for expungement under this chapter; or
    • (B) Is a member of an impacted family.
  • (iii) For applicants with a minimum of ten (10) full-time employees, an applicant with at least fifty-one percent (51%) of current employees who:
    • (A) Currently reside in a disproportionately impacted area; or
    • (B) Have been arrested for, convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for any offense that is eligible for expungement under this chapter or is a member of an impacted family.
  • (iv) Can demonstrate significant past experience in or business practices that promote economic empowerment in disproportionally impacted areas.
  • (v) Had income which does not exceed four hundred percent (400%) of the median income, as defined by the commission, in a disproportionally impacted area for at least five (5) of the past ten (10) years.

Workers’ Cooperative Applicants

To qualify as a workers’ cooperative applicant, you must organize and operate your Rhode Island marijuana business in compliance with chapter 6.2 of title 7.

What is a workers’ cooperative? They are enterprises that are democratically controlled and operated by their own workers. As stated above, Rhode Island will issue 25% of the cannabis business licenses to worker’s cooperative applicants.

Does this make sense to you? We understand how confusing the regulations can be. Reach out today to have one of our Rhode Island cannabis consultants answer your questions.

cannabis consulting firm in Rhode Island

 

Now that we have discussed the cannabis license application process in Rhode Island, let’s dive into our step-by-step guide on how to win a license.

Guide on How to Win a Rhode Island Cannabis License

Our cannabis consulting firm in Rhode Island crafted this 10-step guide to help you apply for and secure a license. These are steps you can take now to improve your odds of winning. Your competitors will wish they read this guide.

Step 1: Read Rhode Island’s Cannabis Laws and Regulations

The first step to winning a cannabis license in Rhode Island is to read the laws and regulations. By doing so, you’ll understand the business landscape. Pay particular attention to the regulations surrounding the license application process.

Our Rhode Island cannabis consultants, therefore, suggest you read the Rhode Island Cannabis Act as your first step.

Step 2: Choose a Rhode Island Cannabis Business License Type

As mentioned above, Rhode Island will issue 5 types of marijuana business licenses. The five types of Rhode Island cannabis licenses include:

  • Cultivator
  • Product Manufacturer (aka Processor)
  • Hybrid Retailers
  • Retailer
  • Testing Laboratory

You should choose the Rhode Island cannabis license that matches the type of business you’d like to operate. It is important you make this decision early on since each license will have its own application process and requirements.

We understand how frustrating it can be to read through thousands of lines of legal regulations. Applying for a license is tricky and time-consuming. This is why the next step is to bring in Rhode Island cannabis consultants to make your life easier.

Step 3: Engage a Rhode Island Cannabis Consultant

Why not take the stress out of applying for a cannabis license in Rhode Island? Our marijuana business consultants in Rhode Island can help you win a license by managing your application from beginning to end.

Think of our Rhode Island Cannabis Consultants as coaches who will guide you from a pre-licensed idea to a fully operational and profitable cannabis company. We’ve helped clients like you win licenses in 27 U.S. States and 6 countries (with a 90.12% success rate — one of the highest in the industry!).

Reach out today to learn how we can help you become a cannabis business owner in Rhode Island.

Step 4: Form a business entity

Now is a good time to form a business entity for your Rhode Island cannabis business application. Choose your entity structure tactfully, since Rhode Island will allocate 25% of licenses to social equity applicants and another 25% for workers’ cooperative applicants.

Your ownership structure and the type of entity you form will determine if you qualify for social equity or workers’ cooperative status.

Step 5: Build a team

One aspect that Rhode Island will score your cannabis license application on is your team. To score high, you should build a team with experience in business management, cannabis businesses, security, inventory tracking, compliance, etc.

The applications with the highest scores will win a Rhode Island cannabis business license. So you should build as strong a team as possible. Speak with our Rhode Island cannabis consultants to learn about Quantum 9’s talent acquisition services.

Step 6: Develop Rhode Island Cannabis Business Plan

At this stage, you can build a business plan for your Rhode Island marijuana business. You can use your business plan to help you think through your venture, understand costs, analyze the market, build a brand, and raise capital.

Moreover, you can use portions of your business plan for your Rhode Island cannabis business license application. Work with our marijuana consultants in Rhode Island to craft a world-class business plan.

Step 7: Raise capital for your Rhode Island marijuana Business

Starting a cannabis business in Rhode Island is a costly endeavor. You’ll incur costs from real estate, attorneys, lobbying, marketing, consultants, and more. In fact, you’ll generate significant costs during the process of applying for and receiving the license. These are costs you will incur whether you win a license or not.

Pursuing a Rhode Island cannabis license and starting your business can cost you millions of dollars. It’s best you begin securing your capital now, as raising capital can take time. Quantum 9’s Rhode Island cannabis consultants can assist you in this endeavor.

Step 8: Choose a location

With some capital in hand, you can begin looking for and securing a location for your cannabis business. As part of your Rhode Island cannabis business license application, you must have proof of site control. You will also have to demonstrate that your location is zoned correctly and compliant with the municipal ordinances.

Step 9: Garner Local Support

Once you’ve secured a location, the next step is to begin building local support. You’ll want support from the municipal government as well as local organizations. Having local support for your Rhode Island cannabis business will go a long way for your license application.

Step 10: Write and Submit your Rhode Island Cannabis Licence Application

Finally, the last step is to sit down and write your Rhode Island marijuana business license application. As mentioned above, as part of your application, you will submit the following:

  • Operating Plan;
  • Inventory Tracking Plan;
  • Financial Plan;
  • Local Municipal Approval;
  • and more.

Make sure your application complies with Rhode Island’s cannabis laws as well as the ordinances of your municipality.

Do you have time to write a cannabis business license application?

Rhode Island’s cannabis business license applications may require you to write hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of technical documentation regarding compliance and operations.

Applying for a Rhode Island marijuana business license is an extremely competitive process and you’ll compete against multi-state operators and the best attorneys.

Allow our Rhode Island cannabis business consulting firm to write your application for you. Take the stress out of applying and allow our professionals to craft a competitive application for you.

marijuana consulting firm in Rhode Island

Conclusion

In conclusion, applying for a Rhode Island cannabis license is a complex and time-consuming endeavor. It’s also extremely costly, as you’ll have to secure real estate, engage attorneys, do marketing, and more. Why risk applying and not winning? Work with our Rhode Island cannabis consultants to submit an application that will win you a license.

Reach out today to schedule a free consultation!

APPENDIX | Additional Information from our Rhode Island Cannabis Consultants

Ownership Limitations:

You are only allowed to have one Rhode Island cannabis business license issued to you. However, you can invest in as many licenses as you’d like, as long as you are not the majority owner (reference section 21-28.11-19 of the Act).

Municipal Authority

Municipalities in Rhode Island can opt-out of allowing cannabis retailers to operate within their boundaries. If the municipality decides to opt-in to adult-use cannabis sales, the city or town can choose to have its own licensing process.

Cannabis Taxes in Rhode Island

Adult-use cannabis retail sales will incur the following taxes:

  • 10% state cannabis excise tax
  • 3% local cannabis excise tax

Related articles from our Rhode Island Cannabis Consultants

Julio Soriagalvarro

Author Julio Soriagalvarro

As the Managing Director at Quantum 9, I help entrepreneurs and investors win licenses and start cannabis businesses in medical and adult-use markets. I manage teams that continuously produce cannabis business license applications that outcompete the best attorneys and largest multi-state operators in the world. We’ve helped clients become cannabis business owners in 27 US States and 6 countries.

More posts by Julio Soriagalvarro

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.