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Rhode Island


The Office of Cannabis Regulation is responsible for licensing and regulatory oversight of compassion centers, cultivators, and cooperative cultivations and oversight of medical marijuana plant tagging requirements. The Office is responsible for licensing and regulatory oversight of Industrial Hemp growers and handlers, and CBD consumable retailers and distributors.

The annual licensing fee to establish a dispensary in Rhode Island is $30,000. However, the total cost of setting up a dispensary typically ranges from $400,000 to $1,000,000, depending on various factors such as facility size, operations, and location.

Rhode Island provides several license options for cannabis retailers, which may be applicable to your business based on its nature. These licenses include:

– Hybrid Cannabis Retailer License, which covers both medical and adult-use sales.
– General Cannabis Retailer License, which permits adult-use cannabis sales only.
– Medical Marijuana Dispensary License, which allows the sale of medical cannabis products only.

Contact PayRio today to learn more about our payment processing solutions for Rhode Island cannabusinesses.


Rhode Island has a limited history with cannabis legalization. In 2006, the state passed a medical cannabis law, which allowed for the use of cannabis for certain medical conditions with a doctor’s recommendation. However, the implementation of the program was delayed by regulatory challenges and legal disputes, leading to a slow rollout of medical cannabis sales. In June 2009, Rhode Island introduced a cannabis dispensary system, making them the second state nationwide (after California) to do so.

In 2012, Rhode Island had some of the harshest mandatory minimum sentences for possession of large quantities of cannabis in the United States. If found in possession of over 5 kg of cannabis, individuals could face up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. In 2013, Rhode Island decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis, making it a civil offense with a fine rather than a criminal offense with the possibility of jail time.

Rhode Island officially became the 19th state in the US to legalize the possession, home cultivation, and sale of small quantities of marijuana for recreational use when The Rhode Island Cannabis Act was signed into law on May 25, 2022. Rhode Island’s cannabis policy has been shaped by its proximity to neighboring states that have also legalized cannabis, such as Massachusetts and Connecticut.

LAST UPDATED 5/10/2023 – It’s important to remember that laws can be revised and updated frequently, so please keep this in mind.