Recreational Marijuana Stores Still a Year AwayPosted by On

Although Newport and Middletown approved ballot measures that would allow the sale of recreational marijuana, it will be some time before local retail stores start cropping up.

“We don’t have the regulations out yet, we don’t even have the Cannabis Control Commission to write the regulations yet,” said Elizabeth Beaven of the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation’s Office of Cannabis Regulation, the governmental body that oversees cannabis licensing in the state. “It could take a year, maybe even longer.”

In the recent election, Newport and Middletown joined 23 other Rhode Island cities and towns in allowing the sale of recreational marijuana. The vote came following the legalization of adult use of recreational marijuana by the General Assembly earlier this year, with Gov. Dan McKee signing the bill into law in May.

With the passage, Rhode Island municipalities could gauge their electorates via ballot measure on the sale of recreational marijuana locally. The question required state and local approval to appear on the ballot and read as follows: “Shall new cannabis-related licenses for businesses involved in the cultivation, manufacture, laboratory testing and for the retail sale of adult recreational use cannabis be issued in [the municipality]?”

Newport approved the measure with 4,297 votes (60 .8 percent) in favor and 2,772 votes (39.2 percent) opposed. Middletown also endorsed, though by a slightly smaller margin, with 3,308 votes (56.9…

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