SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s first new medical marijuana dispensary in nearly a decade — and the first one in South County — is set to open Monday as a delivery-only service.

Plant Based Compassionate Care, one of the businesses pulled from a state lottery last fall, announced Friday that Sweetspot Dispensary would open on Pershing Avenue in South Kingstown.

But there won’t be any cannabis on site at that location, allowing the business to side-step any requirements to get special zoning permits from the town.

Instead, the business will deliver the cannabis straight out of its existing cultivation facility in Warwick, according to CEO Jason Webski, in addition to buying from other cultivators. The storefront in South Kingstown will be used as a consultation space for patients.

The delivery-only dispensary is a change in plans for the business, which originally proposed to sell medical marijuana out of the Pershing Avenue location. The company had not yet received local approvals to do so.

“It is our understanding there will be no cannabis present on the premises, furthermore the continued use of the subject property as business/office is compliant with the local Zoning Ordinance,” South Kingstown building official Jamie Gorman confirmed. 

Gorman said if the business operated as a compassion center — Rhode Island’s term for medical marijuana dispensaries — with a retail store selling cannabis in the town, they would have needed a special use permit from the South Kingstown Zoning Board of Review and development plan review approval from the Planning Board.

“Satisfying the requirements for such use at this particular site may have proven to be difficult for the applicant, although I cannot comment on any specific concern town officials have,” Gorman said.

South Kingstown Town Manager James Manni declined to comment.

The Department of Business Regulation said they have issued Sweetspot a final license, the first new medical marijuana license to be issued since 2013.

Spokesperson Brian Hodge said the company changed its application with DBR from its original plan to be an in-person retail compassion center.

“The company submitted variance requests to their original application that reflected a pivot to their current business model,” Hodge said. “DBR carefully reviewed these requests in great detail to ensure lawful compliance, and ultimately determined these variances were permissible for operation.”

Webski said the business is still in close conversations with South Kingstown officials about its future, but opted to launch as a delivery service in order to open up more quickly.

“We’re going to be open months ahead of the other winners,” Webski said. “We felt like this was an innovative model that made a lot of sense.”

He said the company will provide delivery to medical cannabis patients statewide, but will focus on those who live in “Zone 5,” which includes Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, Richmond, South Kingstown and Westerly.

The state picked one new compassion center applicant from each of six zones, seeking to spread out access to medicinal cannabis throughout the state.

It’s taken so long to get the new medical dispensaries up and running — they were approved by the General Assembly three years ago — that recreational marijuana is now legal in Rhode Island.

The existing medical dispensaries will be the first to sell recreational cannabis on December 1, if they choose to apply for a hybrid license from the state.

Webski said Sweetspot has not yet decided whether to join the recreational market in December.

Rhode Island has only ever had three compassion centers, approved back in 2013, which are located in Providence, Warwick and Portsmouth.

South County has never had a dispensary, so Webski said Sweetspot is excited to be able to serve patients there.

“That’s one of the key reasons we’re moving forward with this model,” he said.

Four of the other compassion centers picked from the lottery last fall have until the end of July to get their final license, a deadline that’s in question for some of the winners.

The winner selected in Woonsocket, for example, is currently in a legal battle with the city after being denied zoning approvals for its chosen location there.

A sixth lottery winner, Mother Earth Wellness in Pawtucket, was picked in April after the lottery for Zone 6 was delayed. That business has until January to get the final license, but the owner has said it’s expected to be ready to open in October.

“The Department of Business Regulation is excited to facilitate the entry of a fourth licensed compassion center into Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program,” said Matt Santacroce, the director of cannabis regulation for DBR. “Plant Based DBA Sweet Spot Dispensary is bringing an innovative business model to market that will improve availability of and access to medicine for Rhode Island’s patient community. DBR worked closely with the applicant to ensure they were full compliance with the law and regulations – just as we continue work closely with selected applicants in the remaining five zones – and we look forward to further expansion in the months ahead.”

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