A Hummel Report InvestigationThe second of three `compassion centers' - state-licensed distributors for medical marijuana - opens in Portsmouth next month over the objections of a local citizens group that says residents were bypassed in the approval process. This week Jim Hummel hears their concerns and sits down with one of the owners of the new center, who details what to expect when the doors open at the end of May.
The outside of the former auto body shop is nondescript for motorists passing by on West Main Road.
But inside there is a transformation going on that will culminate next month with the opening of Rhode Island's newest licensed dispensary for patients authorized to purchase medical marijuana.
The Greenleaf Compassion Center in Portsmouth will become the second of three dispensaries authorized by the Department of Health in what has been an stop-and-go process over the past several years.
Bock: ``The only people that can enter the facility through locked doors are people that are cardholders, and only cardholders that have specifically registered with our compassion center.''
Dr. Seth Bock is a Middletown acupuncturist and partner in Greenleaf, which beat out more than a dozen other applicants and will be the sole compassion center in the East Bay.
The other two are in Warwick and Providence.
Bock and his partners are putting a total of $600,000 into the venture, and expect to eventually serve several hundred patients after it opens May 31st. Given the product is being sold and grown here, the owners are investing heavily in security. A bulletproof glass foyer will eventually greet customers when they are buzzed in after showing identification.
Bock: ``We take security very, very seriously. From my perspective, aside from providing the best medicine we can to people that need it, security is right up there with it.'
The original plan called for the center to be located on the back side of the Portsmouth Business Park, sandwiched in between a row of businesses. But Bock said the landlord got cold feet and there were odor concerns since marijuana will be cultivated on site. The new location is more visible and close to a bus stop.