Rhode Island pauses lottery for medical cannabis dispensary permits

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Rhode Island cannabis regulators halted the lottery that would license six new medical cannabis stores in the state.

The lottery was expected to take place in early 2021.

However, the selection process is now on hold until at least August since one applicant filed an appeal after it was deemed unqualified, Providence TV station WPRI reported.

Of the 45 lottery applications submitted by 28 applicants, 41 were considered qualified by the state.

The appealing company, Atlas Enterprises, proposed a dispensary in Newport but was denied on grounds that it failed to provide evidence of zoning compliance, among other reasons. Newport does not allow retail marijuana facilities per a city ordinance.

The state also has not received a bid from an outside company to run the lottery.

Now, the state Department of Business Regulation will conduct the lottery using an analog method rather than digital process.

Rhode Island has only three medical marijuana dispensaries in operation, even though the program has nearly 20,000 registered MMJ patients and offers reciprocity for medical cardholders from other states.