PROVIDENCE — On the coldest day of the season yet, former FBI agent Russell Griffiths wore short-sleeves and had no intention of donning a coat when his work began.
The man obviously had nothing up his sleeves, which was precisely the message state marijuana regulators wanted to convey Friday as they had a blind-folded Griffiths choose the lottery winners to open and run Rhode Island’s five new medical marijuana dispensaries.
In a virtually silent and tense-filled scene in a Department of Administration conference room — witnessed by representatives of 23 companies looking to score big — Griffiths reached a bare arm into a plexiglass tumbler (on loan from Twin River casino) to pull out the winning yellow balls, each assigned a number corresponding with a license applicant.
The winners and the communities where they plan to operate their retail-only dispensaries are:
RMI Compassion Center, Inc., Woonsocket.
Pinnacle Compassion Center, Inc., Central Falls.
Green Wave CC, Inc., Foster
Solar Therapeutics Rhode Island, Inc., Cranston.
Plant Based Compassionate Care, Inc., South Kingstown.
Even among the losing applicants, there were winners Friday.
Many of them, like Jason Calderon, of Exeter, are among the state’s 66 licensed marijuana cultivators who currently supply products to Rhode Island’s existing dispensaries.
“Just having the five new [dispensaries] is a win in general,” said Calderon. It almost triples the number of locations he will be able to sell to. “Obviously it’s not the same win,” as winning a dispensary license, “but a win no less for all us cultivators.”
For Rick Comolli, a co-owner of one of the winning companies,