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Rhode Island marijuana regulation board gets new chief

February 5, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s Office of Cannabis Regulation has a new chief as the state looks to license six new medical marijuana dispensaries.

Matthew Santacroce, a former policy director for Gov. Gina Raimondo, began in mid-January, The Providence Journal reported Friday.

Santacroce, who left the Raimondo administration in 2018, most recently worked at The Policy Lab, a collaborative think tank run by Brown University.

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The eight-member cannabis regulation office was created to reform and better regulate the state’s medical marijuana program. The state has not legalized recreational marijuana use.

“His role will be ensuring the expansion of the medical program and that the priorities of the administration are carried out,” state Department of Business Regulation spokesperson Brian Hodge said.

Raimondo proposed allowing six new medical marijuana dispensaries, on top of the three that already exist, as a way to improve access and to encourage more price competition.

In December, 28 companies submitted applications in the hopes of qualifying for a lottery later this year for a license to operate one of the six new dispensaries.