“One toke over the line, sweet Jesus. One toke over the line …” — Brewer and Shipley

Tom Mooney Journal Staff Writer Mooneyprojo

ATTLEBORO — Rhode Island’s top medical-marijuana regulator and its three licensed dispensaries disagree about how much of a threat lurks over the line in Massachusetts this summer when retail pot sales become legal there.

The dispensaries say they will lose business as customers opt to buy Bay State cannabis without the hassle of being a state-registered patient.

The additional competition is further reason the dispensaries give for opposing Gov. Gina Raimondo’s plan to quintuple the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in Rhode Island — from 3 to 15.

While regulator Norman Birenbaum says there are reasons those dispensaries need not worry — at least not immediately — one fact is indisputable:

Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux is banking on Rhode Islanders visiting pot shops in his city.

How many shops? “Certainly more than five,” he says. “I don’t have an upper limit as to how many would be a problem…. We want the revenues. Very simple. It’s all about the revenues.”

“Promising” and “fortunate” is how the mayor describes his city’s proximity to Rhode Island’s densely populated capital region.

In his City Hall office, he enlarges a map on his tablet and runs his finger along Routes 95, 1 and 1a, cutting down through Pawtucket, Providence and East Providence. “Right here, by virtue of our location, it just puts us in a really good place.”

As Heroux sees it, “The will of the people said they want this here in Massachusetts and here in Attleboro. So okay, fine, if that’s what the citizens want, that’s what they can have. I’m not going to stand in the way of that.”

How many marijuana stores and grow centers eventually open

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