PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — A Rhode Island marijuana dispensary put up massive billboards along I-95 in Pawtucket on Thursday, in potential defiance of the state’s advertising ban that business owners have said is unfair.
The billboards for Mother Earth Wellness, a medical and recreational dispensary in Pawtucket located right next to the highway, depict the business name and logo and direct drivers to the nearest highway exit to get to the dispensary.
Rhode Island marijuana businesses are barred from advertising under a regulation connected to their license, which has been the case since the state only allowed medical sales.
But Massachusetts businesses are free to advertise in Rhode Island, and many have billboards on Rhode Island highways and roads, directing drivers to their Massachusetts dispensaries.
Joe Pakuris, owner of Mother Earth Wellness, declined to comment Thursday on his new billboards. But he has previously expressed frustration at his inability to advertise, which would let Rhode Islanders know his cannabis store exists.
“The state of Rhode Island is currently allowing Massachusetts medical and recreational dispensaries advertising capabilities on billboards throughout each and every Rhode Island highway,” Pakuris testified at a State House hearing last month. “In addition, Massachusetts dispensaries are permitted