We all knew it was coming. The coins were dropping just over the border in neighboring Massachusetts, and everyone has a keen ear for that “clink, clink” from miles away.

What we weren’t expecting, and certainly weren’t hoping for, is the restrictive nature of what was proposed by Governor Gina Raimondo and her team this week.

Here are the lowlights:

  • Growing would now be ILLEGAL for everyone – patients included (unless approved for an undefined “hardship”)! The reality is that most people either can’t or don’t want to grow anyway. But for the few that do, it greatly reduces the cost of their medicine.
  • Potency will be limited to 50%, and no products above that limit will be available, unless pre-approved by the Department of Business Regulation.
  • All edibles will be capped at 5 milligrams of THC each, or 5% potency.
  • Sales will be capped at one ounce.
  • Sales would initially be limited to nine dispensaries, with priority given to the three existing dispensaries in the state – extending what some call an already blatant monopoly, non-competitive vertical integration, and overcrowding already teeming locations that truly ill patients patron.
  • 20% overall tax. Tax will be threefold: 3% on wholesale weight, plus state sales tax (7%), as well as a special marijuana excise tax of what we can assume makes up the remaining 10%.

And the list goes on… it appears they took the strictest measures from every other state, and mixed them into one big unappealing mess.

If Rhode Island truly wants to compete with Massachusetts, and, soon, Connecticut (looking good), this is NOT the way to do it. For a state who has often been on the cutting edge of freedoms and liberties, this does not feel like we are are echoing Roger Williams’ ideals.