WOONSOCKET – A medical marijuana dispensary looking to open in Walnut Hill Plaza last year has passed its latest hurdle with a vote of approval from the City Council.

The council voted 5-0 on Monday to approve the location for the dispensary, which is expected to open in the first half of next year. The dispensary will be located in the former Payless ShoeSource on the left side of the plaza.

Councilors had no comment on the vote, which was one of several regulatory approvals the dispensary’s owners need to secure before opening. On Jan. 10, the project will appear before the city Zoning Board to seek a special use permit. The meeting will include a public hearing, an opportunity for residents to speak for or against the dispensary’s location.

RMI Compassion Center, as the organization is formally known, won its license to operate from the state during a lottery held on Oct. 29. It was the only license awarded in Zone 1, which includes North Smithfield, Burrillville, Cumberland, Glocester and Smithfield in addition to Woonsocket. Four other licenses were also drawn for zones around the state.

Dr. Paul Isikwe, a pharmaceutical industry professional and the group’s president, told The Breeze at the

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