Rhode Island marijuana cultivators beg for more retail to combat oversupply

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Burdened with more cannabis than can be sold, adult-use marijuana cultivators in Rhode Island are begging state officials to quickly open more retail outlets.

The state has about 60 licensed cannabis cultivators supplying a grand total of seven stores open for business, the Providence Journal reported.

Two more stores are permitted under state law, but no new stores are expected to open until as late as 2025, according to the newspaper.

Faced with an overabundance of product and a severe shortage of outlets to sell it, marijuana businesses in Rhode Island are imploring state lawmakers to quickly seat regulators in order to expand retail capacity.

If that doesn’t happen, the state risks a wave of businesses laying off workers or closing entirely.

Some cultivators have already laid off 40% of their workers, Nick Lacroix, president of Warwick-headquartered cultivator Mediflor Organics, told the Journal.

Rhode Island legalized adult-use cannabis in May 2022, and existing medical marijuana dispensaries began recreational sales Dec. 1 with hybrid licenses.

That bill called for the opening of another 24 retailers, but none of them can begin the licensing process until a state cannabis commission and advisory board are seated.

A state Senate committee on Tuesday approved the three board candidates nominated by Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee.

The full Senate must now approve the candidates.

It took the governor one year to make his selections, the newspaper reported.

Marijuana business operators urged the state Department of Business Regulation to work with localities to figure out where cannabis businesses could operate in the meantime.