Rhode Island: Tax revenue on medical marijuana lower than expected

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — It’s been two years since Rhode Island launched its medical marijuana market and opened dispensaries around the state, but tax revenues haven’t been quite as high as state officials expected.

There are now three medical marijuana dispensaries — also known as compassion centers — selling pot to patients in Rhode Island, with the state collecting a 4 percent surcharge and a 7 percent sales tax on all their sales. While revenues are increasing, some compassion centers say they’re facing increasing competition from caregivers who can grow and sell medical marijuana without paying taxes to the state.

“There are people out there who’ve made this a fulltime business,” said Chris Reilly, a spokesman for the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence. “It’s a competitive force that’s real.”

State officials report that medical marijuana revenues are about half of what was predicted as the state prepared to...

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