Late last week, the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation (DBR) announced that the agency will not reopen the licensed cultivator application process in 2018. In the notice, the DBR stated that under its authority it “may modify the licensed cultivator application period each year based on patient and program need. Having considered patient and program need, the Department has determined not to reopen the licensed cultivator application period during the months of January, February and March, 2018.”

The cannabis cultivator license application process launched in January 2017 under the DBR’s Medical Marijuana Program, which permits only licensed cannabis growers to cultivate and sell medical marijuana to the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries. The initial application period opened on January 1, 2017 and expired on April 30th of this year. Thus far, DBR has approved cultivator licenses for 18 growers, given preliminary approval to 48 and has an additional 50 or so applications pending which have not yet been processed.

In light of the DBR’s recent announcement, those interested in participating in the Rhode Island market as a licensed cultivator may now only do so by investing in one the existing 18 marijuana cultivator license-holders in Rhode Island or in an applicant already in the pipeline for license approval by the DBR. Such investments are best facility with the advice and counsel of an attorney knowledgeable of both the corporate and regulatory considerations in acquiring an ownership interest in a cultivation enterprise. For more information, please contact business attorney and PLDO Partner Benjamin L. Rackliffe at 401-824-5100 or email [email protected]. Attorney Rackliffe is a leading authority on the state’s Medical Marijuana Program and has assisted multiple Rhode Island cannabis license-holders through the regulatory process.