The Great Rhode Island Pot Buyout
Rhode Island’s largest dispensary is trying to get the state to cancel its plans to issue more medical cannabis dispensary permits, in exchange for a $5 million donation to help fill the state’s budget gap.
Chris Reilly, a spokesman for the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center, said the dispensary could pay the state $5 million, with the stipulation that the state would forgo issuing the remaining 12 out of 15 dispensary permits.
The Providence Journal reported that Reilly pitched lawmakers on the deal this week.
“We’re very sensitive to the state and its challenges,” Reilly told members of the House Finance Committee, according to the newspaper. “And if there is a way to find the $5 million that you need to plug the budget hole that you need for the coming fiscal year, we’d like to be part of the solution.”
TCS Compassion, as proven by this attempt at keeping their chunk of the market, clearly isn’t a fan of the state’s plan to add more licensed dispensaries — to increase competition among dispensaries, slash prices, increase the number of products and strains being used to produce those products and improve access for patients. The state believes the plan for more dispensaries could be worth $5 million more in tax revenue annually.
Essentially, TCS Compassion is trying to give the state the equivalent of a year of revenue from the program so that it won’t increase competition.
The folks from TCS Compassion explained to lawmakers that the move to expand the number of dispensaries to 15 would be a major hit to the sustainability of their business, which already expected to take a hit when their neighbor, Massachusetts, begins adult-use sales this summer. Regulators in Rhode Island aren’t buying the Massachusetts argument quite yet, as they believe the loss