With sales of recreational marijuana scheduled to begin Dec. 1 at Rhode Island’s medical marijuana dispensaries, officials at some of those establishments are anxious to know what specific requirements they’ll have to follow.
That guidance is coming next month, said Matt Santacroce, acting deputy director of the state Division of Business Regulation and head of its Office of Cannabis Regulation.
“There absolutely is going to be a very detailed guidance process around that,” Santacroce said Friday. “It’s in the process of being developed right now.”
RI marijuana regulations
That guidance will include such details as whether dispensaries must have separate doors or customer lines for medical and recreational use marijuana sales, and how much marijuana product must be reserved for medical marijuana patients.
Early general guidance issued by the DBR in July said only that the dispensaries must have “a sufficient supply of safe, regulated product available for both adult use and medical purchasers.”
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Mass. recreational marijuana laws
Next door in Massachusetts, which has had recreational marijuana sales since 2018, the requirements for “colocated marijuana operations,” or CMOs, are specific.
There, the law says that a dispensary selling both medical and recreational use marijuana for less than six months must reserve 35% of its product for patients.
After six months, “the licensee shall maintain a quantity and variety of marijuana products for patients…sufficient to meet the demand indicated by an analysis of sales data.”
And marijuana products reserved for patient supply shall, “unless unreasonably impracticable, reflect the actual types and strains of marijuana products documented during the previous six months. If a substitution must be made, the substitution shall reflect as closely as possible the type and strain no longer available.”
The Massachusetts laws also require “physical separation between medical and adult use sales areas” but note that patients can patronize either area when buying marijuana.
A CMO shall additionally provide a patient consultation area “separate from the sales floor that is enclosed to allow privacy and for confidential visual and auditory consultation with qualifying patients.”
RI cannibis guidelines
The legislation Rhode Island lawmakers passed this year legalizing recreational marijuana, gave regulators until Oct. 15 to come up with detailed guidance for the dispensaries — the first retailers — “and we’re probably going to beat that by two weeks,” said Santacroce.
Santacroce said Rhode Island should have seven medical marijuana dispensaries selling recreational use marijuana by Dec. 1.
That figure includes the existing four dispensaries in Providence, Warwick, Portsmouth and South Kingstown, and three new ones now in the works in Pawtucket, Central Falls and another one in Warwick.
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