During the first year of legal adult-use cannabis sales in Rhode Island, state-licensed businesses sold more than $100 million worth of marijuana products—including almost $70 million in recreational sales.
Data recently updated through November by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation show that retailers sold $105.0 million in legal cannabis since December 2022. Recreational sales, which began that month, made up about two-thirds of the total, with medical marijuana accounting for the rest.
Purchasing activity rose steadily over most of the year in Rhode Island. It peaked in August, which saw the highest aggregate sales, and September, which set a record for adult-use sales.
Sales of medical marijuana, meanwhile, have steadily fallen over the year—a common trend in existing medical markets once adult-use sales kick off. November’s medical sales were the lowest of the year, coming in at just under $2.3 million.
Recreational sales in November, meanwhile, amounted to about $6.9 million—the lowest since July. Total sales, at $9.2 million, were lower than any time since June.
In terms of product categories, pre-rolled joints led the market by item count last month, at 162,060 items sold. After that was “pre-packaged bud,” at just under 160,000 items, and then edibles (69,332), vape carts (53,911), infused pre-rolls (15,015), concentrates (13,132), tinctures (901) and topicals (789).
The average purchase receipt for November was $25.21, the department reported.
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) recently celebrated the state’s first year of legal adult-use sales, which came to a close at the end of November.
“A year into adult-use cannabis sales in Rhode Island, we are proud of the careful execution that defined our entry into this industry,” he said. “This success represents growing opportunity for our state’s economy but also for the nearly 70 licensed cultivators, processors, and manufacturers in the State of Rhode Island which we know are integral to our local cannabis supply chain.”
In the past year, officials said at the time, Rhode Island has notched numerous accomplishments, including the formation of the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) to regulate the new industry. Commissioners were nominated by McKee in May and confirmed by lawmakers in June. The commission has also hired a chief legal counsel and plans more hiring in coming months.
Industry advocates have also put out requests for changes to the state law, specifically around narrowing qualifications for social equity applicants, expanding the social equity fund with more tax revenue, allowing fee waivers and offering provisional licenses.
Regulators, meanwhile, have been seeking state and federal data to better define social equity eligibility.
In October, Rhode Island officials quietly published updated marijuana sales numbers stretching back to the launch of the state’s adult-use market in December 2022, fixing discrepancies in the figures that sometimes amounted to tens of thousands of dollars.
The adjustment came in response to a request for clarification from Marijuana Moment after the state Department of Business Regulation published its monthly sales records from September. Initially, retail totals reported by the state didn’t match up with the sum of reported medical and recreational sales.
Photo courtesy of M a n u e l.
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