R.I. cannabis sales climb in August

RETAIL CANNABIS SALES in August marked four straight months of record sales./PBN FILE PHOTO

PROVIDENCE – Cannabis receipts in Rhode Island rose for the fourth consecutive month in August while new sales milestones were reached.

The monthly financial report released from the R.I. Department of Business Regulation shows total sales reached $9.67 million in August, up from $9.47 million in July and $7.4 million in December 2022.

In another milestone, the 60 state-licensed cultivators sold 1,152 pounds of cannabis to Rhode Island compassion centers in August, a 74% increase compared with December 2022 and the first time that number has surpassed 1,000.

The latest data also shows the continued upward trend of recreational cannabis sales since passage of the Rhode Island Cannabis Act has coincided with a decline in medical marijuana sales, which netted $2.64 million in August, down from nearly $4 million in Dec. 2022.

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There were more than 15,000 medical card holders when sales were expanded to recreational users. That number now stands at 11,195.

The continued growth shows that revenue generation may be closer to initial projections for fiscal 2024. The state collected $3.4 million in state and local tax revenue from retail cannabis sales in the first four months, falling short of forecasts by 25%.

State law imposes a 10% excise tax and 7% sales tax, plus a 3% local tax for the municipality where the sale took place.

There are currently six licensed retailers in the state, including the five compassion centers which all have so-called hybrid licenses, allowing them to sell to both medical and recreational customers. The three-member R.I. Cannabis Control Commission, the authority which will decide on the 24 remaining retail licenses, is expected to begin issuing those in 2024.

Regional cannabis competition continues to be sharp as neighboring states are enjoying their own sales boom, with Connecticut and Massachusetts ending August with record receipts of $25 million and $139.3 million, respectively.

Christopher Allen is a PBN staff writer. You may contact him at Allen@PBN.com

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