Businesses seeking to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island have submitted 45 applications for only six licenses, according to officials from the state Department of Business Regulation. More than two dozen companies submitted applications, many of them for more than one of the coveted licenses for compassion centers, as medical marijuana dispensaries are officially referred to in Rhode Island.
Medical marijuana was legalized in Rhode Island in 2006, but currently the entire state is only served by three licensed dispensaries, located in the cities of Providence, Warwick, and Portsmouth. Under a state law passed last year, six more compassion centers will be licensed, one in each of six geographic zones defined by the legislation. The zones were included in the law to ensure that access to medical marijuana is available to patients throughout the state.
In all, 28 businesses have submitted a total of 45 applications, at a cost of $10,000 per application. Ten companies have submitted applications for more than one zone, although each entity will only be allowed to receive one license, even if they are selected more than once in a lottery that will be held to award the licenses. Applicants that are awarded the dispensary