The fate of Rhode Island’s final medical cannabis license will likely remain unknown into 2022.
Department of Business Regulation spokesperson Brian Hodge simply wrote, “The Department has not scheduled the Zone 6 lottery at this time,” when asked for an update by Grown In. He did not comment on the ongoing legal action from Rhode Island Care Concepts nor did he respond to what the state would tentatively plan once the legal action is over.
DBR selected winners for the five of the available six new medical cannabis licenses on Oct. 29. That lottery had already been delayed for months when a disqualified applicant for the sixth license appealed the state’s decision.
Atlas Enterprises, the disqualified applicant, finally dropped its appeal on Nov. 9, shortly after the lottery for the first five licenses took place.
Since the lottery, both Rhode Island Care Concepts and New Leaf Compassion Center were disqualified after their respective municipalities voted against approving the zoning of the proposed facilities.
Rhode Island Care Concepts filed its own appeal which is now further delaying the licensing process. Although it could be possible for Rhode Island Care Concepts to prevail in court and once again become a contender for their proposed dispensary in East Providence, a loss in court leaves one approved option for the state.
Mother Earth Wellness is the last remaining applicant that has been approved for the suspended lottery. At this point, Mother Earth Wellness, as well as Rhode Island Care Concepts have had to secure and pay for facility space that has gone unused for over a year.
The Pawtucket Board of Appeal approved Mother Earth Wellness’s plan for a dispensary. The proposal needed a variance because it was within 200 feet of residential zoning and within 1,000 feet of a public park. The approval included a stipulation for the company to cover the cost of a police detail outside of the dispensary.