PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – One week after recreational cannabis went on sale in Rhode Island, the numbers are in.

Rhode Island’s six marijuana dispensaries — five of which are currently authorized to sell to recreational customers — collectively sold just over $1.63 million worth of marijuana from Dec. 1 to Dec. 7, according to the Department of Business Regulation.

Less than half of those sales were for recreational marijuana, at about $786,000. The rest, about $845,400, were sales to medical marijuana patients.

For comparison, during the last week of October — the most recent full week available prior to recreational sales — the dispensaries collectively sold $1 million worth of medical marijuana.

State regulators do not release sales numbers for the individual dispensaries.

Recreational marijuana is taxed at 20%, a higher rate than medical, so those sales bring more money per purchase into state and local coffers. The first week of recreational sales will bring in roughly $133,600 in taxes for the state and about $23,500 for local towns and cities where the stores are located.

The medical sales, which are subject only to the 7% sales tax, will amount to about $59,000 for the state during that same week.

The state revenue from pot sales is initially expected to be spent almost entirely on administering the new program, including hiring about two dozen new employees across various state agencies including the Departments of Business Regulation, Health, Revenue and others.

Other changes to Rhode Island marijuana policy will reduce state revenue.

When recreational sales started Dec. 1, the state also stopped charging medical patients to obtain or renew their medical marijuana cards. And there is an expected revenue loss from the pending plan to expunge marijuana possession charges, which will eliminate court fees from those crimes.

All told, the R.I. Office of Management and Budget anticipates netting just $368,000 after expenses from the $5.9 million in cannabis tax revenue projected in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2023.

Tax revenue is expected to increase in the future years, when up to 33 stores will open statewide.

Steph Machado ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter covering Providence, politics and more for 12 News. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.