230-80-05 R.I. Code R. § 1.3

Current through August 7, 2022
Section 230-RICR-80-05-1.3 - Licensed Cultivator Application, Licensing and Renewals
A. R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6-16(b)(1) authorizes DBR to promulgate regulations regarding the form and content of licensing and renewal applications for licensed cultivators.
B. Licensed Cultivator Application and License Timeline
1. R.I. Gen Laws § 21-28.6-16(o) prohibits DBR from reopening the application period to new applicants for a medical marijuana cultivator license. Should DBR be hereafter authorized to reopen the application period to new applicants, these regulations, including the application provisions, shall apply. DBR reserves the right to modify the application periods based on patient and program need and to limit the number and/or classes of new licenses available to new applicants based on the projected needs of the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program population. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6-16 (location and possession restrictions, regulation of licensing and oversight requirements).
C. Post-Approval Process and Timeline
1. Upon notification of approval of an application from DBR, the approved applicant must take reasonable and documented efforts to complete the prerequisites for issuance of the license pursuant to the steps detailed in § 1.3(F) of this Part. If such efforts take longer than nine (9) months, the approved applicant must show good cause to DBR why additional time should be granted and the application approval should not be rescinded.
2. Once the license has been issued, the licensed cultivator must take reasonable and documented efforts to launch licensed cultivator activities, which for purposes of this paragraph shall mean actual medical marijuana cultivation, processing, packaging, manufacturing, and/or other medical marijuana activities requiring a cultivator license pursuant to the Act. If such efforts take longer than six (6) months, the licensed cultivator must show good cause to DBR why the license should not be revoked for non-use.
D. Classes of Cultivator Licenses
1. Cultivator licenses shall be divided into the following categories:

License Class

Size of Facility*

Micro-license

0 - 2,500 sq. ft.

Class A

0 - 5000 sq. ft.

Class B

5,001 - 10,000 sq. ft.

Class C

10,001 - 15,000 sq. ft.

Class D

15,001 - 20,000 sq. ft.

2. For facilities over 20,000 sq. ft., please contact DBR prior to submitting the application.
3. Unless DBR issues notice otherwise permitting new license applications, only Micro-license, Class A, and Class B applications will be accepted. An applicant who is considering eventually applying to operate a larger facility may detail any such plan on the application.
4. Facility size shall be determined as a total of any area where marijuana will be cultivated, stored, processed, packaged, and/or manufactured.
5. An authorized officer of the applicant shall certify the square footage calculation.
E. Application for Cultivator License
1. DBR will evaluate applicants based upon the information provided by applicants on the application forms/submissions and otherwise obtained during the application process.
2. Each application for a licensed cultivator shall be on such forms and through such submission mechanisms as designated by DBR.
3. All categories of cultivator applications shall be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of five-thousand dollars ($5000).
4. Pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6-16(i), cultivators shall only be licensed at a single location registered with DBR and RISP, must abide by all local ordinances, including zoning ordinances, and may be subject to any additional location restrictions promulgated by DBR. With respect to local zoning, medical marijuana cultivation may fall within various zoning use categories including without limitation the following zoning use categories: agricultural uses (such as greenhouse and nursery), industrial uses (light and general), manufacturing and processing (such as factory) or specific medical marijuana related use categories. Whether medical marijuana cultivation is a permitted use, prohibited use or allowed by special use permit within these or any other use categories is determined by local zoning authorities.
5. The application shall contain the following minimum information:
a. The applicant's legal and any d/b/a name(s), certificate of incorporation or organization in Rhode Island or certificate of authority to transact business in Rhode Island, articles of incorporation or organization, bylaws or operating agreement and corporation organization chart.
b. Regarding the proposed physical location, the application shall include:
(1) The proposed physical location of the licensed cultivator (by plat and lot number, mailing address, etc.), if a precise location has been determined. If a precise physical location has not been determined, a description of the general location(s) where it may be sited, if approved, and the expected schedule for purchasing or leasing said location(s).
(2) Approximate calculation of the square footage of the proposed facility.
(3) Evidence of compliance for the location with local zoning laws in the form of a certificate or letter from an authorized zoning official.
(4) Evidence that the physical location is not located within one thousand feet (1,000') of the property line of a preexisting public or private school. For the purposes of this paragraph, "private school" shall be deemed to refer to any nonpublic institution of elementary or secondary (K-12th Grade) education, accredited or recognized as a private school by the department of elementary and secondary education or the school committee of the city or town having jurisdiction over private schools. For purposes of this paragraph, the 1000-foot distance shall be measured from the secured cultivator premises, which shall include allotted outdoor areas (such as parking and loading areas), to the property line of the school, which shall include the school building, land, and appurtenances.
(5) A draft diagram of the proposed facility, including where within the facility the medical marijuana will be cultivated, stored, processed, packaged, and/or manufactured, and where security alarms and cameras and surveillance recording storage will be located, and showing the location of the facility relative to streets and other public areas.
(6) A description of objective parameters (such as distances from streets and public areas) and/or proposed measures (such as black-out window shades) that ensure that marijuana at the premises shall not be visible from the street or other public areas.
(7) Evidence of either ownership of property or agreement by owner of property to allow the operation of a licensed cultivator on the property, if property has already been purchased or leased at the time of the application.
c. A business plan, including scope of activities, budget and resource narratives, and timeline for initiating operations.
d. The legal name, current address, and date of birth of each officer and director or member/manager of the applicant.
e. A list of all persons or business entities (legal names and current addresses) that currently have or are expected to have direct or indirect authority over the management or policies of the applicant.
f. If the applicant proposes to have a management agreement in place, it shall also include a copy of the management agreement or management agreement proposal and a list of persons who have any ownership interest or operational control over the management company.
g. A list of all persons or business entities (legal names and current addresses) having any ownership interest in the applicant entity, whether direct or indirect.
h. If the cultivator premises and/or other operational assets will be owned or leased by a person or entity other than the applicant, the legal name and current address of any such person or entity and a list of all persons or entities (legal names and current addresses) having any ownership in such entity, whether direct or indirect.
i. The legal names and current addresses of all creditors providing loans or financial and/or holding a security interest in the premises and/or other assets to be used in the cultivator operations, if any.
j. Tax Affidavit in accordance with R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-76-1 et seq.
k. Policies and procedures for handling voluntary and mandatory recalls of medical marijuana products including recalls due to any action initiated at the request or order of DBR, and any voluntary action by a licensed cultivator or compassion center to remove defective or potentially defective medical marijuana from the market, as well as any action undertaken to promote public health and safety.
l. Policies and procedures for ensuring that any outdated, damaged, deteriorated, mislabeled, or contaminated medical marijuana is segregated from other medical marijuana and destroyed.
m. Process validation for smokable and vapable products.
n. Evidence of appointment of a compliance officer.
o. All other information required by DBR as described in the application form, including for example experience and regulatory history of the applicant and its key personnel.
6. Only applications which DBR has determined to be complete (i.e., adequately addresses all application requirements above and contains complete responses to all mandatory questions) shall be eligible for review.
F. Prerequisites to Issuance of Cultivator License and Commencement of Operations
1. If an applicant seeking to operate as a licensed cultivator is notified that its application has been approved by DBR, it shall complete the below steps before a cultivator license will be issued.
2. Annual Cultivator License Fees

License Class

Size of Facility*

Annual License Fee

Micro-license

0 - 2,500 sq. ft.

$5,000

Class A

0 - 5000 sq. ft.

$20,000

Class B

5,001 - 10,000 sq. ft.

$35,000

Class C

10,001 - 15,000 sq. ft.

$50,000

Class D

15,001 - 20,000 sq. ft.

$80,000

3. Final Information and Documentation to be Supplied. The applicant must provide any updates to previously submitted application information and the following additional items to DBR:
a. A sufficient description of the final physical location of the cultivator premises (by plat and lot number, mailing address, etc.).
b. Evidence of complete compliance of the facility with the local zoning laws in the form of certificate or letter from an authorized zoning official of the municipality and certification by an authorized officer of the applicant as to compliance with any other applicable local ordinances.
c. Unless already provided at time of initial application, evidence that the physical location for the cultivator premises is not located within one thousand feet (1,000') of the property line of a preexisting public or private school.
d. A current Certificate of Occupancy (or equivalent document) to demonstrate compliance of the cultivator facility with the relevant provisions of R.I. Gen. Laws Chapters 23-28.1 and 23-27.3 [Fire Safety Code and State Building Code, respectively].
e. Evidence of either ownership of property or agreement by owner of property to allow the operation of a licensed cultivator on the property.
f. A final diagram of the facility, including where marijuana will be cultivated, stored, processed, packaged, and manufactured, and where security alarms and cameras and surveillance recording storage will be located.
g. The legal name, current address, and date of birth of any person who will be an employee or agent of the cultivator at its inception.
h. Evidence of completion of divestiture plan and other individual relinquishment requirements pursuant to § 1.3(F)(5) of this Part.
4. DBR Pre-License Inspection. Before a cultivator license will be issued, a DBR inspection is required. Approved applicants should contact DBR to coordinate said inspection. Nothing in this paragraph should be construed as limiting inspections at an earlier time in addition to the final pre-license inspection. The cultivator may be required to make any changes required by DBR regarding the security of the facility and its personnel prior to commencing licensed activities.
5. Divestiture of Prohibited Material Financial Interest and Control
a. A licensed cultivator and key persons/interest holders thereof may not have any "material financial interest or control" in another Rhode Island licensed cultivator, a compassion center, or a licensed cooperative cultivation or vice versa. See R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 21-28.6-16(i) and 21-28.6-16(b)(2).
b. R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6-16(f) authorizes regulations regarding testing of medical marijuana and marijuana product cultivated and/or manufactured by licensed cultivators, which will include ensuring the independence of cannabis testing laboratory. Accordingly, a licensed cultivator may not have any material financial interest or control in a Rhode Island DOH-approved cannabis testing laboratory and vice versa.
c. If a licensed cultivator application is approved and any prohibited material financial interest or control has been identified by DBR or is otherwise known to the licensed cultivator applicant, such interest or control must be divested prior to issuance of the cultivator license and in any event no later than thirty (30) days following DBR's notification of the requirement to divest. The plan of divestiture and documents evidencing completion of plan shall be filed with DBR. In addition, the applicant must demonstrate to DBR why the application should not be denied, or the license revoked for failure to disclose this prohibited interest.
d. If applicable, before issuance of the cultivator license, the cultivator applicant entity and its officers, directors or managers/members, and any other person with an ownership or controlling interest must relinquish any caregiver registrations or cooperative cultivation licenses held in order to comply with R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6-16(a).
e. The duty to divest prohibited material financial interests and control is a continuing obligation of the applicant and of licensure.
G. DBR Post-Licensure Inspection of Operations, Inventory and Requirements
1. After the cultivator license is issued, the licensed cultivator shall notify DBR when it obtains inventory and commences operations. DBR may conduct a post-licensure inspection upon this commencement of operations, including but not limited to inspection for compliance of medical marijuana and marijuana product inventory with the tagging and tracking requirements set forth in §§ 1.6.1 and 1.6.2 of this Part. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit DBR's general inspection powers as delineated in § 1.13 of this Part.
2. Any key person/interest holder of a licensed medical marijuana cultivator shall not be a registered primary caregiver cardholder for any qualifying patient(s) other than himself/herself and shall not hold a cooperative cultivation license. R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6-16(a).
H. Variance Requests - Changes in Licensed Premises, Activities, Ownership and Control
1. A cultivator license shall not be assigned or otherwise transferred to other persons or locations, unless pre-approved in accordance with the below paragraphs.
2. A licensed cultivator has a continuing obligation to update, amend and/or correct any information requested and/or submitted in the application process to DBR.
3. The licensed cultivator must seek pre-approval from DBR by means of requesting a variance for all material changes to the approved cultivator application or any materials or plans approved thereafter by DBR. DBR may deny the variance if it determines that such variance will cause harm to public health and safety or cause the applicant to be in violation of the Act or any regulations promulgated thereunder, or otherwise would have caused the licensee to not have qualified for licensure originally.
4. A licensed cultivator shall submit to DBR a written request for a variance for any proposed change described below at least sixty (60) calendar days prior to the proposed effective date of the change:
a. A proposed change in ownership of the licensed cultivator;
b. Proposed change in the membership of a board of directors, board of trustees, or managers/members;
c. Proposed change in corporate officer;
d. Proposed merger, dissolution, entity conversion or amendment of corporate organization;
e. Proposed entering into a management agreement, changing management companies, and/or material changes to an existing management agreement;
f. Proposed changes in the approved licensed cultivator premises;
g. Proposed change to approved premises floor plan
(1) The licensed cultivator must include in its variance request a renovation plan that specifically addresses quality control procedures for the protection of medical marijuana and medical marijuana products from any contamination during the construction process and further address any other criteria DBR requires.
h. Proposed expansion/modification of the premises, including expanding or modifying the scope or scale of approved and/or licensed activity:
(1) Any request to expand or modify the premises, scope or scale of approved and/or licensed activity further requires explanation by the cultivator that the request to expand is justified by the projected needs of qualifying patients as determined by DBR. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 21-28.6-16(d).
(2) Additionally, any approved increase in the size of the facility that causes the facility to be reclassified based on the license fee structure set forth in § 1.3(F)(2) of this Part shall require payment of the difference between the paid fee and the fee applicable to the new classification of the facility. DBR, in its sole discretion, may prorate the fee increase or may offer a rebate for a size decrease.
i. Or any other changes requiring a variance as determined by DBR.
5. All variances must be pre-approved by DBR. Unless the licensed cultivator provides timely notification of the above changes and receives a variance issued by DBR or a waiver of the requirement of prior notice and issued variance, the license shall be void and returned to DBR.
6. As to any proposed change of ownership or to a management agreement that will effect a change of majority control and/or decision-making authority with respect to the operation of the licensed cultivator or as to any proposed change in an approved licensed cultivator premises location, DBR may require the licensed cultivator to follow the process for a new application, which may include a new application fee.
7. Change in contact information:
a. The licensed cultivator shall notify DBR in writing within ten (10) days of any changes in the licensee's mailing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, or any other changes in contact information reported on the most recent initial/renewal application. Note that a change in business address/location is subject to the pre-approval variance requirements in § 1.3(H) of this Part.
I. Discontinuance of Business Operations
1. The license shall be void and returned to DBR if the cultivator discontinues its operation, unless the discontinuance is on a temporary basis and approved by DBR.
J. Annual Renewal
1. Cultivator licenses shall be issued for one-year terms.
2. Annual renewals shall be submitted on such forms and include such information as prescribed by DBR.
3. An annual inspection shall be part of the annual renewal process.
4. A licensed cultivator must submit to DBR an annual license fee. The annual license fee shall be determined by the below table and must be paid in full before a license will be issued or renewed.

License Class

Size of Facility*

Annual License Fee

Micro-license

0 - 2,500 sq. ft.

$5,000

Class A

0 - 5000 sq. ft.

$20,000

Class B

5,001 - 10,000 sq. ft.

$35,000

Class C

10,001 - 15,000 sq. ft.

$50,000

Class D

15,001 - 20,000 sq. ft.

$80,000

5. A licensed cultivator may renew an existing Medical Marijuana Cultivator license at a lower class for the ensuing license year.
a. The licensed cultivator must seek pre-approval from DBR by means of requesting a variance. The written request shall include a certified floor plan and a submission of any other required information to DBR in a form designated by DBR along with a completed renewal application. Upon approval, the license shall become fixed at the lower class and not be subject to change without DBR approval.
b. Renewal at a lower license class will include payment of the annual license fee applicable to such lower class.

230 R.I. Code R. § 230-RICR-80-05-1.3

Amended effective 3/25/2020