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By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor
By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor
BOSTON – Virtual technology developer Worlds Online Inc. has signed a letter of intent to acquire Sigal Consulting LLC, a Massachusetts-based firm that specializes in licensing and developing medical marijuana facilities, including the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence.
Currently looking to expand its services to applicants and license holders in Massachusetts, Illinois, Nevada, Florida and other states, Sigal Consulting entered the medical marijuana industry four years ago and offers consulting services related to the licensing, development, cultivation, operations, security, health care and financing of marijuana dispensaries.
“The licensed medical marijuana industry is rapidly expanding throughout the country into states with no professional local expertise,” said Robert Firemen, CEO of Sigal Consulting. “I believe that the opportunity to provide programs and services to the hundreds of new licensed facilities is potentially very significant. These health care facilities need to produce and deliver safe medical cannabis to thousands of patients with debilitating illnesses.”
Partnering with Worlds Online will provide Sigal Consulting further opportunities to grow in the market, Firemen said. The two companies have agreed to work toward a definitive acquisition agreement, part of Brookline, Mass.-based Worlds Online’s efforts to diversify its operational business into the medical marijuana industry.
“ArcView Market Research projects the legal marijuana market will grow to $10.2 billion by 2018,” said Thom Kidrin, CEO of Worlds Online. “Therefore, we believe that entering this market at this time, in partnership with this experienced team, would enhance shareholder value.”
Currently, marijuana use is legal in Rhode Island only as a medical treatment, and only two centers – the Slater Compassion Center and the Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth – are currently licensed and operational.
Sen. Joshua Miller and Rep. Edith Ajello, both Providence Democrats, have introduced bills that would legalize and tax recreational use of marijuana. Legislation H7506 and S2379 – collectively known as “The Rhode Island Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act” – would create a per-ounce tax on marijuana, unlike the price-based taxes established in Colorado and Washington, the two states where recreational marijuana use is already legal.
Last week, policy research nonprofit OpenDoors released a report estimating that Rhode Island could generate between $21.5 million and $82 million in additional tax revenue each year by legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana.
“Passage of this legislation means tens of millions of additional revenue for necessary Rhode Island programs, including those that treat alcohol and drug abuse,” said Nick Horton, a policy specialist at OpenDoors and author of the report. “While multiple variables makes it impossible to know for certain how much money Rhode Island will see, we can be pretty confident that the state will realize between $21.5 [million] and $80 million a year as a result of this policy change.”
The revenue estimate takes into account current consumption rates or marijuana in Rhode Island, predicted price changes and their impact on consumption, and the amount of marijuana that would be taxed, OpenDoors said.
To read the complete report, visit www.opendoorsri.org.