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Rhode Island begins sales of recreational marijuana

A ribbon cutting celebrates the start of recreational pot sales at RISE Warwick on Dec. 1, 2022. (WJAR)
A ribbon cutting celebrates the start of recreational pot sales at RISE Warwick on Dec. 1, 2022. (WJAR)
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Local dispensaries can now start selling recreational cannabis in Rhode Island.

The legislation allowed those sales to begin Thursday.

It was signed by Gov. Dan McKee in May.

At RISE Warwick, the music of steel drums filled the early morning as customers lined up to make some of the morning's first purchases.

NBC 10 spoke with the person who made the first purchase of the day at RISE Warwick.

“I come from the West Coast and it has been legal for some time. It’s legal here, and I get up normally pretty early anyway I wanted to be the first person,” said Christopher Hamptun.

The CFO of Green Thumb Industries says the company, which owns RISE Warwick, is very excited, and they had to double the staff at the Warwick location.

“There should be a lot of economic injection that should come out of this as sales really start to roll through a much more regulated market. We think there should be tons of opportunities for everyone within the state,” said Anthony Georgiadis, CFO of Green Thumb Industries.

The Department of Business Regulation said the implementation timeline is the fastest in the Northeast region.

Last month the state gave the green light to five licensed marijuana compassion centers to sell recreational cannabis to adults 21 and older.

Those locations were:

  • Aura of Rhode Island in Central Falls.
  • Thomas C. Slater Center in Providence.
  • Mother Earth Wellness in Pawtucket.
  • Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth.
  • RISE Warwick in Warwick.

The head of Rhode Island's office of cannabis regulation Matt Santacroce said the state is prepared to oversee this change.

They're hiring staff and plan to triple the state's cannabis inspection ability.

Santacroce said he thinks some of the perceptions and expectations of the industry have changed now that it's been around for a while and available in other states.

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