Rhode Island’s First Legal Weed Stores Open to Eager Shoppers
Five facilities opened doors to all adults this morning, operating for the first time as hybrid medical and adult-use dispensaries.
On Thursday morning, Rhode Island became the nation’s 15th state to open legal adult-use cannabis stores. Excited customers braved 30° chills to experience some of New England’s most breath-taking cannabis storefronts. Dressed for the weather in down jackets, knit caps, and gloves, Rhode Island’s early birds got the bud at first-openers Mother Earth Wellness dispensary in Pawtucket and RISE in Warwick.
Mother Earth Wellness opened ahead of schedule at 5 a.m. Thursday. The dispensary welcomed the state’s first customer Karen Ballou, a local cultivator, who told WPRI, “It’s very exciting, it’s been a long time coming… It’s been a long six, six and a half years for me to get to this point, for all of us to get to this point so it was important to be the first sale,” Ballou said.
Joe Pakuris is co-owner of Mother Earth Wellness, a vertical operation with the state’s only licensed hydrocarbon extraction lab. Pakuris told Leafly shortly after opening there were no lines yet, but that they expect to see 1,000 to 2,000 first day customers in total, based on pre-registration and email inquiries.
“We’re very excited. We feel blessed to have the opportunity to service the Rhode Island market and feature all of the top cultivators in the state.” Joe Pakuris, co-owner of Mother Earth Wellness
RISE opened at 6 a.m. in Warwick with a ribbon cutting, live music, and treats. The company’s New Jersey location provided similar fun at the crack of dawn when stores opened there in April.
“All of the products that have been available for medical patients are now available for the adult use side as well,” said RISE CFO Anthony Georgiadis at the grand opening. The nation’s tiniest state is projected to generate $300 million from cannabis sales within its first few years of adult-use.
Georgiadis explained, “All of the products that have been available for medical patients are now available for the adult-use side as well.” He said RISE is ready for a rush stocked with “a ton of flower, a ton of pre-rolls, a ton of edibles.”
More than 30 stores will eventually be licensed, but the rollout will be gradual.
By: Calvin Stovall | Leafley