New Cultivator Licenses
With the passing of Governor Raimondo’s budget this past July, a new type of medical marijuana license has been created: Cultivators. Until now, dispensaries have relied on personal caregivers to supply 40% – 60% of the medicine sold in their stores. As of January 1, 2017, the centers won’t be allowed to purchase from caregivers anymore and will be required to purchase any needed product from the newly licensed cultivators.
Where/when are the licenses available?
The Department of Business Regulation has made the license available on their website. Applications will be received until April 30, 2017, and the application period will re-open annually each following year from January through March. Licenses are valid for only one year. (dbr.state.ri.us/documents/rules/comm_licensing/Commercial_Licensing_EmergRegulation_Med_Marijuana1.pdf)
Who can apply?
Applicants must be 21 years or older and not have any drug-related felonies on their record. All applications require a nonrefundable $5,000 application fee.
What are the different classes of cultivator licenses?
There are four different classes of license.
- Class A: 0-5,000 sq. ft. / $20,000 annual licensing fee
- Class B: 5,001-10,000 sq. ft. / $35,000 annual licensing fee
- Class C: 10,001-15,000 sq. ft. / $50,000 annual licensing fee
- Class D: 15,001-20,000 sq. ft. / $80,000 annual licensing fee
How many plants can a cultivator grow?
At first, Class A will be limited to 250 immature and 250 mature plants, and Class B limited to 500 immature and 500 mature plants. Once the state implements a tracking system that all cultivators will use, the limits will be lifted and there will be an unlimited plant count, like the dispensaries.
Is there a limit on total weight a cultivator can possess?
There is a limit on the amount of “uncommitted inventory” (ie, product that a dispensary hasn’t written a contract or purchase order for) ranging from 5 to 10 lbs of dried usable bud, or equivalent amounts of edibles or concentrates (more detailed numbers are on the application).
Who can cultivators sell to?
Cultivators can only sell to dispensaries, not directly to patients like caregivers can. Dispensaries must write a purchase order or contract for batches of product.
What products can a cultivator produce?
Cultivators can sell flower, concentrates and edibles to the dispensaries. They can also purchase flower/trim from the dispensaries themselves, process them into edibles or concentrates, and then sell them back.
Who does this new law help or hurt?
These changes will help dispensaries with quality control and reliability of purchased medicine, which in turn is helpful for the patients who shop at the dispensaries. The new law will, however, likely have an impact on the caregiver community. Many caregivers sold to dispensaries to be able to afford giving their individual patients low-cost or even free medicine. It is predicted that many caregivers will give up their licenses since it will no longer be as financially viable for them to maintain them.