House unanimously approves advertising for cannabis

By: - May 9, 2023 5:44 pm

Buds of marijuana on display inside Mother Earth Wellness in Pawtucket. (Photo by Christopher Shea/Rhode Island Current)

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island-based marijuana dispensaries are one step closer to being able to advertise their business in their own state.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that eliminates the prohibition on advertising by local dispensaries  — an issue initially left to be decided by the still-unformed Cannabis Control Commission.

R.I. pot shops can’t compete if they can’t reach customers. That is costing the state revenue.

The law passed last May legalizing recreational marijuana called for the governor to select three appointees to the Cannabis Control Commission by July 4, 2022.

Gov. Dan McKee has yet to make any appointments, leading to frustration by local dispensary owners over lack of direction and promotion — which has also brought less revenue than projected.

Under the bill sponsored by Providence Rep. Scott Slater, the Office of Cannabis Regulation will take on advertising responsibilities temporarily until the Cannabis Control Commission is formed.

In the interim, the office will be required to provide dispensary owners with forms, procedures and requirements related to advertising marijuana.

“This bill will correct this inequity while also supporting these new local businesses in Rhode Island by hopefully keeping Rhode Islanders from crossing the border to shop for their cannabis in neighboring states,” Slater said in a statement.

The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration. A companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Josh Miller, a Cranston Democrat, is expected to be filed soon.



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Christopher Shea
Christopher Shea

Christopher Shea covers politics, the criminal justice system and transportation for the Rhode Island Current.