Five Pawtucket marijuana facilities waiting to grow

Five Pawtucket marijuana facilities waiting to grow

PAWTUCKET – Would-be marijuana growers in the city are still waiting for the go-ahead to start operating.

To date, five applications for Pawtucket-based license cultivators have been accepted by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, and one, Organic Bees, was issued a license to operate in May, according to the state’s database.

Other hopefuls with accepted applications include Mother Earth Creations, Gardening for Good, LiVity LLC and High Gardens.

Jay Rosa, senior planner for the city, said all applications for licensed medical marijuana grower facilities must first be accepted by the Department of Business Regulation, and then may be issued a license based on compliance with a variety of requirements such as security, odor control, seed-to-sale tracking, interior renovation, and fire and building code compliance. 

“None of these facilities are currently cultivating or producing medical marijuana at this time,” he said Monday.

Addresses are not listed on the state website, but Mother Earth Creations received its early Pawtucket approvals for a facility at 125 Esten Ave. Gardening for Good’s application for a special use permit was also approved last year, for a facility at 50 Patterson Ave.

Rosa declined to release the addresses of other approved facilities.

A number of other companies still have applications outstanding to operate centers in Pawtucket.

The City Council’s ordinance subcommittee, at its June 20 meeting, approved a new ordinance governing growing and sales of marijuana within city limits. That ordinance must still go before the City Council, and there was no word this week on when that will happen.

Ordinance Committee Chairman Terry Mercer said it was smooth sailing for the measure through ordinance, as there’s little the city can do about marijuana growers outside state control, and he expects a similar path before the full council. Growers will be allowed to operate “as long as they fit within the guidelines,” said Mercer.

The ordinance subcommittee approved a measure passed by the City Planning Commission in January.

The Pawtucket ordinance allows marijuana growers an opportunity to do business if they receive a special use permit from the city.

Companies are seeking to become suppliers to Rhode Island’s three medical marijuana dispensaries, which provide marijuana to more than 15,000 patients.

The General Assembly last month shot down Gov. Gina Raimondo’s plan to expand the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, and also passed a hike in their annual licensing fee from $5,000 to $250,000.

Pawtucket will likely allow compassion centers in industrial open (MO) and industrial built-up (MB) zones, with special use permits. Licensed cultivators and marijuana testing facilities are also allowed in those zones, with special use permit, and testing facilities also allowed in commercial general (CG) zones with special permit.

MO zones are intended for light industrial uses that accommodate a variety of manufacturing, assembly, storage of durable goods and related activities.

MB zones are intended for existing high-density industrial structures used for manufacturing and storage purposes.

All marijuana facilities are required to:

• Comply with state regulations on cultivation, distribution and storage of medical marijuana.

• Comply with city building and fire codes.

• Have extensive security, safety and odor mitigation precautions, as spelled out.

Comments

Do we need all these growing centers. We can always go over the border to Massachusetts.