The fate of 23 pre-approved companies seeking five medical cannabis dispensary licenses in Rhode Island will be in the hands of a blindfolded former FBI agent on Oct. 29.
Russell Griffiths, an economic and policy analyst with the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, will have his eyes covered when he picks five numbered balls from a transparent tumbler borrowed from Twin River Casino at 10 a.m. Friday, according to the department’s Office of Cannabis Regulation (OCR). A livestream of the lottery will be available via Zoom.
The licensing lottery was originally scheduled for early August but was delayed after one of four rejected applicants brought forth an administrative appeal. Overall, the state received 45 applications from 28 companies in December. Four companies did not qualify for the lottery.
Instead of further delay, OCR is moving forward with 23 pre-approved companies that have submitted 37 applications for the right to open a dispensary in five zones across the state. A lottery to select a dispensary for a sixth zone in the Newport area will not be held because of the administrative appeal, The Associated Press reported.
The luck of the draw for the 23 companies participating in this week’s lottery ranges from two to 11 applications in the five zones. Zone 3’s license, for instance, will be awarded to either Green Wave CC Inc. or Rhode Island Compassion Center Inc., while 11 companies are in the running for Zone 4’s license. One ball will be randomly picked from each zone.
Rhode Island currently has three licensed medical cannabis dispensaries, including the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence, the Greenleaf Compassion Center in Portsmouth and the Summit Medical Compassion Center in Warwick.