All you have to do is be one of six to win the lottery

The rules say that you don’t have to know a guy to enter Rhode Island’s multimillion-dollar medical marijuana business. All you have to do is get lucky and be one of six nonprofits to win a lottery that will take place sometime next year.

But that didn’t stop 28 entities from enlisting a sitting mayor, several former state lawmakers, and a phalanx of prominent lobbyists as they prepared their applications to open six new compassion centers – the places where people can purchase medical marijuana – throughout the state.

It’s a high-stakes competition in which organizations will spend tens of thousands dollars just to apply. And while medical marijuana alone turn a hefty profit, many of the players involved are betting that a more lucrative prize is on the horizon: the complete legalization of marijuana for adults, like in Massachusetts.

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