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Six R.I. towns vote ‘no’ on marijuana shops

Barrington, East Greenwich, Jamestown, Little Compton, Scituate, and Smithfield reject ballot measures for the sale or cultivation of recreational marijuana

Leaves from a cannabis plant fill a bin after being stripped off while the plant is harvested at a marijuana farm.Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

PROVIDENCE — On Election Day, six Rhode Island towns voted against allowing recreational marijuana shops within their borders.

In all, 31 of Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns had ballot questions asking voters whether they should allow the sale or cultivation of recreational marijuana within their borders.

In those communities, the ballot asked: “Shall new cannabis related licenses for businesses involved in the cultivation, manufacture, laboratory testing and for the retail sale of adult recreational use cannabis be issued in (that municipality)?”

These six towns said “no”:

  • Barrington rejected 52.9 percent to 47.1 percent
  • East Greenwich rejected 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent
  • Jamestown rejected 52.6 percent to 47.4 percent
  • Little Compton rejected 57.1 percent to 42.9 percent
  • Scituate rejected 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent
  • Smithfield rejected 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent

These 25 municipalities said “yes”:

  • Bristol approved 51.2 percent to 48.8 percent
  • Burrillville approved 58.9 percent to 41.1 percent
  • Charlestown approved 54.2 percent to 45.8 percent
  • Coventry approved 59.9 percent to 40.1 percent
  • Cumberland approved 54.2 percent to 45.8 percent
  • East Providence approved 62.1 percent to 37.9 percent
  • Glocester approved 55.5 percent to 44.5 percent
  • Hopkinton approved 60.8 percent to 39.2 percent
  • Johnston approved 56 percent to 44 percent
  • Lincoln approved 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent
  • Middletown approved 56.9 percent to 43.1 percent
  • Narragansett approved 52.6 percent to 47.4 percent
  • New Shoreham (Block Island) approved 54.9 percent to 45.1 percent
  • Newport approved 60.8 percent to 39.2 percent
  • North Kingstown approved 54.7 percent to 45.3 percent
  • North Providence approved 56.1 percent to 43.9 percent
  • North Smithfield approved 56.1 percent to 43.9 percent
  • Richmond approved 58.2 percent to 41.8 percent
  • South Kingstown approved 60.1 percent to 39.9 percent
  • Tiverton approved 54.8 percent to 45.2 percent
  • Warren approved 57.6 percent to 42.4 percent
  • West Greenwich approved 52.1 percent to 47.9 percent
  • West Warwick approved 60.6 percent to 39.4 percent
  • Westerly approved 55 percent to 45 percent
  • Woonsocket approved 62 percent to 38 percent

The communities that did not hold marijuana votes were Central Falls, Cranston, Exeter, Foster, Pawtucket, Portsmouth, Providence, and Warwick. That list includes the state’s largest cities, and municipalities cannot opt out if they already host licensed medical cannabis treatment centers.


In May, the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to make Rhode Island the 19th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Massachusetts and Connecticut had already legalized recreational marijuana, and 38 states, including Rhode Island, had legislation that allows for the medical use of cannabis, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Under the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, cities and towns would have to hold referendums asking voters if they want to opt out from the bills to legalize recreational marijuana for adults.

If the voters decide the answer is “no,” those cities and towns would not be eligible for any of the revenue derived from marijuana sales. The legislation applies a 3 percent local excise tax to all marijuana purchases.

The legislation allows up to 33 retail licenses distributed in six zones statewide, including nine compassion centers that could be hybrid recreational and medical retailers.

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at Follow him @FitzProv.