Rhode Island budget to boost medical marijuana dispensary fee from $5K to $250K

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The Rhode Island General Assembly has approved a state budget that includes a proposal to increase the fee medical marijuana dispensaries pay for licenses from $5,000 to $250,000.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo says she will sign the budget Friday.

Previously, the governor had proposed a plan to open 12 more medical cannabis dispensaries in the state, but the state’s House Finance Committee nixed that idea.

The expansion had been pitched as a way to lower prices through competition, increase access to lab-tested MMJ and reduce black-market activity, according to the Providence Journal.

“The proposal would have created far too many (compassion) centers,” House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said, using the state’s name for MMJ dispensaries.

“I don’t know what the right number is, but the whole system needs a comprehensive review before taking any further action. I don’t want to make a decision that may have to be pulled back.”

The Rhode Island Cannabis Association suggested that if the state is unwilling to allow more dispensaries, demand on the three existing MMJ outlets would remain too high and patients could be priced out of the legal market, according to Providence TV station WPRI.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily