PROVIDENCE — The state has approved two applications for the first medical marijuana cultivators under emergency regulations it issued in late October while citing fears that dispensaries could run out of the drug without a steady supply from outside growers.
The sense of urgency stemmed from a law that bans caregivers who have turned their grows into businesses from selling to the dispensaries as of Jan. 1. It’s one of a series of regulatory changes to the state’s decade-old medical program that’s intended to curb the flow of marijuana into the black market.
There are currently more than 2,850 registered caregivers in the state who can grow marijuana. The roughly 16,120 medical marijuana patients can also grow the drug.
Matt Sheaff, a spokesman for the state Department of Business Regulation, which is now overseeing commercial marijuana operations, declined to provide specifics about the approved applications, including the names of the businesses, their registered agents and their locations.
An approved application does not guarantee that a license will be issued. That final step comes after the approved applicant schedules and passes a state inspection within nine months. Sheaff said more information about the license holders can be released at that point.