In 2017, the State of Rhode Island expanded its medical marijuana program by creating a licensing process for the cultivation and manufacturing of cannabis and cannabis products for sale at the State’s three sanctioned compassion centers.  By all accounts – industry and otherwise – this licensing process was intended to set the table for the coming days of recreational cannabis in Rhode Island. However, year after year, the powers that be at the State’s General Assembly have been firmly opposed to recreational marijuana in the Ocean State, taking a wait and see approach with eyes on neighboring Massachusetts.

Now, just days after the State’s application period closed that will likely add six additional dispensaries to the medical program, smoke signals are beginning to billow over the State House.  As recently reported in the Providence Journal, Senate leadership has already begun to mobilize in the authorizing of adult use legislation:

This is undoubtedly exciting news for industry participants, actual and prospective alike.  Those interested in pursuing cannabis business opportunities in Rhode Island would be best served by reaching out to experienced legal counsel in cannabis law and regulations to get a head start on what many expect to be a “green wave” in the Ocean State.

For assistance and further information, please contact PLDO Partner Benjamin L. Rackliffe, a leading authority in the areas of corporate and regulatory compliance within nascent cannabis industries at 401-824-5100 or email For the better half of a decade, he has been at the forefront of advising businesses on the ever-evolving state and federal cannabis law and policy landscape in both medical and recreational markets throughout New England and elsewhere. Within the State of Rhode Island, Attorney Rackliffe has advised approximately two dozen licensed cultivation companies through real estate, licensing, regulatory compliance and investment related matters. Outside of Rhode Island, he routinely advises dispensary and cultivation operators, including the owner of the largest outdoor cannabis cultivation on the east coast, as well as a publicly traded Canadian company, on diverse corporate matters. In addition, Attorney Rackliffe advises investors on risk mitigation measures within the cannabis space, and has further parlayed this experience in the nation’s burgeoning hemp industry.



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