| The Providence Journal
PROVIDENCE — The state Office of Cannabis Regulation, which is spearheading the effort to add six new marijuana that is medical in Rhode Island, has a new chief, Matthew Santacroce, a former policy director for Gov. Gina Raimondo.
Santacroce, who left the Raimondo administration in 2018 and most recently worked at The Policy Lab, a collaborative tank that is think by Brown University, started their brand new work in cannabis regulation simply weeks hence.
Santacroce, whom obtained $93,575 as Raimondo’s policy manager, had been appointed on Jan. 19 since the Department of Business Regulation’s new cannabis chief with an income of $121,030, in line with the Department of Administration.
Under the leadership of Santacroce’s predecessor, Norman Birenbaum, cannabis regulators created a system of state-licensed cultivators who supply much of the marijuana now sold at the state’s existing three dispensaries. The regulators also implemented new regulations on testing and packaging and dosage that is standardized
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With most of those once-debated reforms now in place, expect Santacroce to play a less role that is public Birenbaum, though that may alter in the event that General Assembly uses up the matter of legalizing leisure marijuana.
“Their part are ensuring the expansion associated with program that is medical that the priorities of the administration are carried out,” said DBR spokesman Brian Hodge.
One of those immediate priorities is the planned expansion of six new medical marijuana dispensaries, pitched by Raimondo as a way to improve access to medical marijuana to patients around the state and to encourage more price competition.
In December, 28 marijuana companies, many with marijuana-growing affiliations in other states — submitted applications in the hopes of qualifying for a lottery later this year for a license to operate one of those six new dispensaries that are regional
In a Feb. 1 page posted regarding the DBR internet site, Santacroce reminded those candidates which they were necessary to submit updates for their applications detailing any modification of business officers or directors and any action taken by neighborhood zoning authorities on their proposed dispensary organizations.
Santacroces stated their office “is in the act of qualifying presented license applications for the future lottery and can have further updates on timing and then actions by mid-February.”