Marijuana cultivators and dispensary representatives have been busy this month hosting fundraisers for the governor and other lawmakers supporting proposals to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
On April 6, about 30 cultivators held a fundraiser for Gov. Dan McKee at Spain Restaurant, in Cranston.
And this past Wednesday, Joseph Walsh, the former mayor of Warwick and lobbyist for the Summit dispensary in Warwick, hosted a virtual fundraiser for McKee on Zoom. About 20 business representatives appeared via computer, including those from the state’s existing three dispensaries.
Mike Trainor, spokesman for McKee’s election campaign, said the governor sees the cultivation and dispensing of marijuana as emerging small businesses and he “is interested in learning from participants in both sectors.”
At the Spain event, attendees underwent rapid tests for COVID-19 prior to being seated at socially distanced tables, Trainor said.
The governor took questions from the growers and explained his legalization bill, which projects 75 retail marijuana stores opening over three years beginning next spring (25 stores licensed each year) and supplied by the state’s current number of cultivators, about 63.
In contrast a bill proposed by Senate leaders would allow for a minimum of three stores in every community (unless a town or city votes against hosting them) and would create a new cannabis control commission that, among other regulatory responsibilities, would determine the number of cultivators.