Rhode Island

Rhode Island Cannabis Business Licenses


Rhode Island is opening applications for six medical cannabis dispensaries, called compassion centers beginning July 17, 2020 with a deadline of December 15, 2020. 

The six new licensees, unlike the three existing vertically integrated dispensaries in the state, will not be allowed to grow their own marijuana at first and will have to source their product from the 56 stand-alone cultivators in Rhode Island, but may have the opportunity to apply to cultivate later on.

These licenses will be issued through a lottery process, with one permit issued for each of the six geographic zones. Operators may apply in more than one zone, as long as they pay the $10,000 fee per application, but may only select one if awarded multiple licenses. The annual fee post-licensure in Rhode Island is $500,000 per dispensary.


Real estateA permanent location must be identified prior to applying for the cannabis license. The application states that applicants cannot change their proposed location to another without Department approval, and states that an inspection of the proposed building may occur before entering the applicant into the eligible lottery. Applicants will have nine months to complete pre-requisites for issuance of the license and another three months to open doors, if awarded a license.

Capital: Each application submitted will cost $10,000, and the annual license fee once selected is $500,000. The application requires the applicant to list anyone loaning money and their interest/dollar amount. The application also requires an organizational chart including all Interest Holders with the dollar amount committed by each.

Business Plan: The Business Plan required for the application must include:

a.  Applicant’s experience running a non-profit organization or other business, and applicant’s experience running a medical marijuana business, as applicable;

b.  Detailed description of amount and source of equity, debt and operating capital for the proposed compassion center, including financial statements or other documentation establishing the source of any funds;

c.  Start-up funding and long-term financial feasibility plan;

d.  Detailed timeline for initiating operations;

e.  Funds for capital improvements and operating needs;

f.  Financial capability;

g.  Financial oversight and compliance plan;

h.  Services for hardship patients and charity care;

i.   Three (3) year projected income statement;

j.  Number and category description of FTEs (full time equivalents) and associated payroll expenses (with benefits) required for staffing;

k.  Description of products and services;

l.  Marketing, promotional and sales plan including pricing strategy;

m.  Industry and market assessment and analysis; and

n.  Segment and customer profile.

Other: Applicants must be organized as a nonprofit.

For a full list of requirements and further information on the application process, please visit the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation website.