Rhode Island seeks bidders to run a lottery to decide who operates 6 new medical marijuana dispensaries – The Providence Journal

Tom Mooney   | The Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island is looking for an experienced person or a firm to create and run a lottery in May to decide who operates six proposed new medical marijuana dispensaries.

On Friday the state posted online a request for proposals to “design and develop the methodology for the random selection process,” that would be held, in public, around May 14.

“The firm or individual will be primarily responsible for securing all equipment, technology, or other necessary mediums to run the process.”

Lotteries have been used in other jurisdictions around the country to decide who wins the often lucrative licenses, but the practice hasn’t been universally endorsed here.

Several local marijuana business owners have said operating licenses should be based on merit, with those companies with proven track-records better positioned to run new dispensaries than newcomers.

But Gov. Gina Raimondo has said she wanted a lottery to avoid political favoritism entering the selection process.

In December, 28 marijuana companies, many with marijuana-growing affiliations in other states — submitted applications in the hopes of qualifying for the lottery and then winning a license to run one of the new regional dispensaries.

Raimondo and her administration pushed

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