Rhode Island yanks MMJ grow application after owners arrested

Two medical marijuana growers in Rhode Island awaiting final approval of their MMJ cultivation business license were arrested for possession and intent to distribute cannabis.

As a result, Rhode Island regulators have revoked their preliminary cultivation approval and application.

The State Department of Business Regulation in January gave initial approval to Warwick growers Stefanie Fischer and Thomas Moulton of Coastal Aeroponics to cultivate medical cannabis, the Providence Journal reported. Their full license was pending a final inspection.

Fischer and Moulton hoped to benefit from a new class of cultivation licenses created last year by state regulators who feared a medical cannabis shortage after the state barred dispensaries from buying marijuana from patient caregivers. The licenses allow approved companies to grow for the state’s three dispensaries.

The pair’s arrest came after state officials conducted an unannounced inspection of their grow operation, according to the Providence Journal.

This is the first incident of a problem arising between the approval of an application and the issuance of a license, Rhode Island’s top MMJ regulator, Norman Birenbaum, told the Journal.

Birenbaum would not provide details about the violations but said the inspection is proof Rhode Island’s licensing process is working.

The couple’s attorney denied the charges and said his clients plan to appeal.