Rhode Island has issued emergency regulations to begin licensing a new group of private growers of medical marijuana.
The Department of Business Regulation said creating a new class of marijuana cultivators will protect patients from an expected shortfall of the product this winter.
The regulations took effect immediately after being signed on Tuesday.
State officials say there could be a shortfall of medical marijuana after a new law takes effect on Jan. 1. That law bans patient caregivers from selling their excess plants to dispensaries. The Providence Journal reports that practice had caused some of the marijuana to flow into the black market. But dispensaries also relied on caregivers for their supply.
The emergency rule speeds up the process of licensing cultivators who can grow, process and package plants.