On a brisk winter day shortly after December 1 – the day licensed retailers were officially allowed to start selling adult-use recreational marijuana here in Rhode Island – Mother Earth Wellness in Pawtucket was bustling with activity.
“Right now, things are going great; we’re getting a lot of traction,” says Joe Pakuris, owner of the cannabis center. “We saw about 2,000 customers from Thursday to Sunday on our opening weekend and the pace has kept steady.”
Mother Earth Wellness opened in a newly renovated state-of-the-art facility in Pawtucket, though their journey began in 2017. Pakuris and Eddy Keegan, owners of Kitchen & Countertop Center of New England, first founded Mother Earth Creations, a licensed medical cultivation lab. They applied to open a compassion center in 2020 and patiently waited for Rhode Island to legalize the sale of recreational cannabis.
Last May, Governor Dan McKee signed the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, authorizing and safely regulating recreational adult-use cannabis, and in November, state regulators approved retail licenses for five compassion centers – including Mother Earth Wellness – which are allowed to sell both medical and recreational marijuana to customers at least 21 years old. “Once we were awarded the license, we were ready to go. We did this fast,” explains Pakuris.
As a new destination for cannabis seekers, Mother Earth Wellness plans to redefine the experience for medical and recreational consumers. “About 30 percent of our customers are medical with the remaining 70 percent recreational,” says Pakuris. “We are getting a lot of good feedback from the medical community that the selection is unlike anywhere else they’ve had access to.”
And they’re not just selling the product. Mother Earth features a cultivation facility designed to grow the highest quality flower, the only licensed hydrocarbon extraction lab to create the best concentrates possible, and a gourmet kitchen to produce luxury edibles. “We have about sixty different strains of cannabis flower on the menu. We have about 40 different pre-roll options. And we make our own edibles here,” Pakuris continues.
The primary focus is local cultivation and sales but the menu at Mother Earth Wellness will also showcase the best products from over 60 craft-cannabis cultivators.
Customers visiting Mother Earth Wellness will enjoy a boutique experience. The custom-designed sales floor incorporates an impressive 40-strain scent bar, terpene (the compound responsible for different plants’ unique smells) sampling station, indoor waterfall, and private consultation space. The team at Mother Earth promises a welcoming and comfortable environment for its customers.
“We have the largest sales floor in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts,” says Pakuris. “You’re able to come into our facility, walk around, look at the displays, learn about the different cultivators, and see their products.” Experienced and knowledgeable staff – or “bud tenders” – go through 40 hours of training to ensure they’re educated on all the dispensary’s products. Even for those green to cannabis, navigating Rhode Island’s new world of retail recreational products is demystified with a visit to Mother Earth.
Mother Earth Wellness • 125 Esten Avenue, Pawtucket
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