US (RI): Budget plan includes more funding for Office of Cannabis Regulation

The number of employees working out of Rhode Island’s Office of Cannabis Regulation could more than double in the state’s next fiscal year budget, based on a proposal on the table.

Gov. Dan McKee’s budget for the Office of Cannabis Regulation for fiscal year 2023 is $5.6 million and represents a total of 20 full-time equivalency, or FTE, positions. By contrast, the office’s FY 2022 budget totaled $1.2 million. The infusion of $4.4 million in new proposed funding reflects the addition of 13 new FTEs within the office.
McKee’s spending plan for the office dovetails into his backing of legalized adult-use cannabis. Lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly have introduced bills calling for legalization beyond medicinal purposes – with a plan to impose a 20% tax on retail sales.

Ethan Freiermuth, legislative budget analyst with the state, combed through budgetary data with members of the Rhode Island Committee on Finance at a recent meeting. The committee is one of multiple legislative panels holding meetings to discuss the budget. “The Office of Cannabis Regulation determines regulations, licensing permits and conducts inspections of cannabis cultivators’ labs and compassion centers,” Freiermuth said as he gave a high-level overview of the agency. “It is funded entirely from restricted receipts garnered from fees.” 

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