Legal, recreational marijuana crept closer to Rhode Island, with the weekend opening of Northeast Alternatives to the general public. The medical marijuana dispensary began selling product to anyone 21 and older on Sunday.
The store is less than a minute from the Rhode Island border, where recreational marijuana is not legal. The sign for Tiverton is visible from the sidewalk in front of Northeast Alternatives, where dozens of people stood in whipping rain to be among the first recreational customers.
Despite brisk business, co-owner Rich Rosier said the company is working to avoid the headline-grabbing traffic of Massachusetts’ other recreational pot shops.
“We learned lessons from the other dispensaries, and so we’re using a system called QLess, which is a virtual line,” Rosier said. “So people can get in line virtually, go do whatever they want to do, and then we’ll summon them, and once they get the text that they’ve been summoned they can enter the parking lot.”
Once summoned, customers can purchase a variety of flower, that’s the dried plant, pre-rolled joints, concentrates, or vape cartridges. Business was brisk on opening day.
“We just went through one hundred people in an hour, so that’s very good per transaction time, so we’re moving through the line pretty quickly, as you can see,” Rosier said. “We’re planning on 45 cars, per thirty minutes and it’s looking like we can up the ante on that and have more people show up.”
Customers were required to give their phone number upon entry, and if area codes or car license plates are any indication, the store is already a hit with Rhode Islanders. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo proposed legalizing recreational marijuana in her 2020 state budget proposal.