Rhode Island’s Industrial Hemp Program Commences This Month

By Attorney Benjamin L. RackliffeOctober 6, 2018Business

Rhode Island has set its date to officially enter our nation’s burgeoning and highly profitable industrial hemp marketplace. On October 9, 2018, the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation (DBR) will begin accepting license applications from aspiring growers and handlers (license holders who process industrial help commodities). DBR is the State’s chief regulatory body that is granted authority for licensing and oversight of the program, pursuant to The Hemp Growth Act, Rhode Island General Laws § 2-26-1 et seq.

Much excitement surrounds the launch of Rhode Island’s hemp program. The hemp industry is expected to double in the United States over the next three years into a multi-billion-dollar market.  The anticipated passage of further federal legislation to broaden the acceptability of U.S. grown and processed hemp is believed to further expand the marketplace and decrease demand for foreign hemp imported to the States from China and others.  It comes as no surprise then, that many will move quickly to be in at the ground floor in state programs like that of Rhode Island’s to obtain favorable market share.

Having a professionally drafted and thoroughly vetted application will best ensure quick processing and acceptance of hemp grower and handler applications with the Department.  Indeed, the Department itself has explicitly recommended that “all potential Applicants thoroughly review the Act and the Regulations governing license application procedures and licensee requirements” before attempting to advance an application through the State’s regulatory process.  Engaging legal counsel with experience with the Department’s regulatory process, and broader experience within the hemp industry would be most prudent. PLDO Partner Benjamin L. Rackliffe is a leading authority on licensing, compliance and regulatory law regarding the cannabis and hemp industry and has successfully advised investors and owners of cannabis facilities and hemp farms in Rhode Island and throughout the New England region. He can be reached at 401-824-5100 or email brackliffe@pldolaw.com.

 

 

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AuthorBenjamin L. Rackliffe

Benjamin L. Rackliffe is a Partner with Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC and a member of the firm’s Corporate & Business and Nonprofit Organizations Teams. He concentrates his practice in the areas of closely held business and tax-exempt organizations, and is considered a leading authority in the areas of corporate and regulatory compliance.

Prior to joining PLDO, Attorney Rackliffe served as assistant general counsel to a hospitality and real estate development corporation and was an associate attorney for a Rhode Island-based construction and engineering litigation firm representing multinational and U.S. contractor corporations. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Roger Williams University School of Law Pro Bono Collaborative and on the Board of Directors of The Steel Yard. For several years, Attorney Rackliffe was named a Rhode Island Rising Star by Thomson Reuters, a distinction that recognizes the top 2.5 percent of Rhode Island lawyers under the age of 40 or those in practice for 10 years or less.

Attorney Rackliffe earned his J.D. from Roger Williams University School of Law and his undergraduate degree in 2004 from Providence College, where he is a Special Lecturer for an undergraduate course entitled, Legal Environment of Business. He is admitted to practice law in Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, and is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association, the New York Bar Association and the American Bar Association. To contact Attorney Rackliffe, please call 401-824-5100 or email brackliffe@pldolaw.com.

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