Rhode Island lottery for new medical marijuana stores in limbo

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Rhode Island marijuana authorities are without a company to run a lottery to award six new medical marijuana dispensary licenses.

The state put out a call in February for bids to develop the process but received no takers.

Brian Hodge, a spokesman for the Department of Business Regulation, told the Providence Journal the state is “exploring alternative options” and still expects to conduct a lottery “later this spring.”

The lottery was originally scheduled for around May 14 if the state received an acceptable bid from a company to oversee the process.

Rhode Island currently has three medical cannabis dispensaries in operation.

The plan developed under former Gov. Gina Raimondo is to expand the number of dispensaries to nine; last year, 45 applications were submitted for the six licenses up for grabs in the lottery.

Meanwhile, new Gov. Dan McKee, who is keen on legalizing adult-use cannabis, proposed a program in which 25 retail licenses would be issued for a market that would launch in April 2022.

Under the proposal, Rhode Island’s existing MMJ companies might get a head start.