Medical marijuana sales are really taking off in Rhode Island. The state has seen new sales records already this year. Rhode Island has just 3 medical marijuana dispensaries but they are expected to sell about $56-million in product this fiscal year.
These increased sales mark a 46.6% increase than last fiscal year, says the Providence Journal. Last year set a record for medical marijuana sales with a total of $38.2 million. While the state doesn’t have a long list of qualifying conditions, their classifications are broad – leaving the categories open for several different health conditions.
The state reports having just about 18,000 medical marijuana patients.
In the last fiscal year, the state collected about $2.75 million in tax revenue. With the increase in expected sales this fiscal year, it’s estimated that the state could take in roughly $5.4 million in tax revenue.
New proposals, including recreational sales, are a hot topic of debate across the state. Governor Raimondo’s proposal includes tripling the number of dispensaries to 9, which would increase access for patients.
Regulator Norman Birenbaum said, “We do not have enough distribution or patient access right now.”
Even though the state is small, some patients have a hard time traveling to one of the 3 dispensaries.
Birenbaum said, “People do not live close enough to these three centers and there’s not enough competition in terms of pricing and offerings. So, when you look at the state’s need, it’s just not being met by the three existing compassion centers.”
If all sides can agree, 2019 could be a pivotal year for marijuana in Rhode Island.