MMJ Store in Providence Would Grow, Package & Sell

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  MMJ Store in Providence Would Grow, Package & Sell

Posted by CN Staff on June 28, 2010 at 03:15:47 PT
By W. Zachary Malinowski, Journal Staff Writer  
Source: Providence Journal 

Providence, RI  --  The old warehouse complex in the Valley neighborhood has been many things to many people over the past 150 years. It was once home to the James Hanley Brewing Co., and Harry Houdini, the renowned escape artist, paid a visit and successfully broke free from a locked beer cask. In recent years, the fortress-like site has served as the Capitol Records Center, a storage facility for reams of archived state documents.
Now, the two vacant buildings at 431 Harris Ave. may soon take on a new historic significance: A group of investors is contending to turn it into the state’s first medical marijuana store.They would name it the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center, after the late Providence state representative who championed the legalization of medical marijuana, to grow and applicants interested in operating a compassion center in Rhode Island under rules developed by the Department of Health. There are applications for other centers in Providence as well as for marijuana retail sites in Pawtucket, Portsmouth, the Warwick/Cranston area and northern Rhode Island. Several applicants have yet to secure an exact location while one did not respond to a request seeking a tour of its proposed facility. Another declined the offer, while Slater officials agreed to meet with a Journal reporter and photographer.On Tuesday, the Health Department, which solicited the compassion center proposals, has scheduled a hearing in the Cannon Building, 3 Capitol Hill, Room 104, for the public to air its concerns or support for the various proposals.The hearing begins at 10 a.m. Key issues are expected to be the location and the proposed security measures for the centers.The Health Department plans to select up to three applicants by Aug. 1.If the Slater Compassion Center is chosen, Gerald J. McGraw Jr., the investor group’s president, and Chris Reilly, the group’s spokesman, said that, by November, they can transform the 75,000-square-foot center into a thriving all-service marijuana outlet.“We will be a good corporate citizen, and we will contribute jobs to the economy,” Reilly said.McGraw said that the center would train and hire up to 75 employees for security, cultivation, storage, sales and a variety of other services that the center would offer such as yoga, Reiki and hypnotherapy.Only licensed medical marijuana users, who must be at least 18 years old, would be allowed on the grounds, and they would be the only ones who could take advantage of the other programs.A business plan filed with the Health Department, part of the application process for all prospective operators, projects that the Slater Center’s revenues will top $510,000 this year, and that those numbers are expected to grow nearly sixfold to $2.9 million by 2012.Plans for the Slater Center are modeled after the Harborside Health Center, a well-established medical marijuana business in northern California with 46,000 registered patients and offices in Oakland and San Jose. McGraw has hired Harborside’s parent company, CannBe, and several of its top officials to help his team launch the marijuana center in Rhode Island.Medical marijuana has become a big business in the West. There are more than 200,000 licensed medical marijuana users in California and more than 80,000 in Colorado. Since last fall, the number of dispensaries selling marijuana in Colorado has surged from 70 to more than 1,100.Both states also have imposed a sales tax on the drug. Rhode Island, one of only six states that have approved medical marijuana dispensaries, along with the District of Columbia, has yet to consider such a proposal for the 1,800 patients registered under the burgeoning program.About 25 new patients a month are getting medical marijuana licenses from the Health Department to deal with medical conditions that have been reviewed by physicians. Rhode Island has had a medical marijuana program since 2006.Thomas M. Underhill, a retired state police lieutenant and a vice president at APG Security in Cranston, would be in charge of a sophisticated security system at the Slater Center.Licensed patients would enter the grounds of the center by passing through a security gate on Harris Avenue. Once inside, valet service would be available for the infirm, and the patients would go to a 4,000-square-foot. satellite building that would serve as the compassion center. There, customers would be able to buy various strains of marijuana at prices ranging from $25 to $51 for an eighth of an ounce.An ounce would cost anywhere from $450 to $550.Under state law, a patient cannot be sold more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana during a 15-day period.Among the possible strains that would be grown and sold at the Slater Center are Strawberry Cough, New York City Diesel, Chem Dawg and Mr. Nice. The various strains are designed to provide relief for a variety of maladies including chronic pain, muscle spasms, nausea, mood disorders and anxiety.The center may sell up to 25 different strains in the on-site store that would feature glass and wood cases similar to those a customer might find at a jewelry store. Slater officials said that state law prohibits customers from smoking the marijuana on the grounds of a compassion center.The larger, adjacent warehouse is where the marijuana would be grown, packaged and stored. McGraw, the center’s president, said the product in the store would be moved to the warehouse each night.The compassion center would be open for business 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.The warehouse would be the primary hub of activity. On the second floor, there are two expansive rooms that would be used to grow the marijuana. It is unclear how many customers the Slater Center would serve, but McGraw is hoping for about 600 to start.The more customers that choose to buy marijuana from a center, the more marijuana its operators would be allowed to grow. As of last week, there were 1,790 licensed patients in the state’s medical marijuana program. They may now get their marijuana only from among the state’s more than 1,300 licensed individual growers.Once the first compassion center opens, licensed patients would have the option of going there or continuing to deal with individual growers.McGraw, who runs J&J Electric, in Warwick, said that he has a purchase and sale agreement in hand to buy the warehouse complex, provided that the state grants his group a license to open.Key Points: Marijuana across the U.S.States with operating medical marijuana dispensaries: California, Colorado, New Mexico.States that have approved the opening of dispensaries: Rhode Island, Maine and New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.Source: Providence Journal, The (RI)Author: W. Zachary Malinowski, Journal Staff Writer Published:  Monday, June 28, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Providence Journal CompanyContact: letters projo.comWebsite: URL:  Medical Marijuana Archives 

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Comment #9 posted by Hope on June 30, 2010 at 17:25:08 PT
If no one but a licensed patient can even enter 
the grounds... what about the people too sick to drive or go in and pick up the cannabis themselves? What about caregivers? What about delivery?I guess they'll work all that... and it will all get easier and better as time passes. At least they're getting something done. That's so wonderful good.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 30, 2010 at 16:11:31 PT
charmed quark 
The math is off. Why is it so hard for writers to get it straight?
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Comment #7 posted by charmed quark on June 30, 2010 at 15:54:11 PT
cost of ounce
Since the article says an eighth would cost between $25 and $51, I would assume an ounce would cost no more than eight times as much: $200 to $408. So the math is off. Maybe they meant $450 to $550 was the cost of 2.5 ounces?Still, that's way too much for most patients. That's the problem with the "Harbor View" style of dispensaries. Lot's of cool services and tons of staff to pay, so high prices. At least Rhode Island lets patients grow for themselves. 
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Comment #6 posted by juztbudz on June 29, 2010 at 09:09:28 PT:
I have a problem with those high prices...
where is the compassion in such pricing. Do the owners hope to pay off the building costs in a single year? If the overhead of running such an operation is that 'high' then another location should be considered. I love the fact that they are basing the plan on the Harborside model, as I believe that they (Harborside) are one of the best. Now, all the owners need to do is learn that Harborside is also based on compassion, not just profiteering on the backs of sick and dying folks...shame, shame, shame...
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on June 28, 2010 at 14:06:16 PT
An ounce would cost anywhere from $450 to $550.
That's outrageous.
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on June 28, 2010 at 10:15:11 PT

comment #2 Palin on marijuana
Interesting. Lets see how that sits with the far right-wing Tea Party. This should certainly further divide conservatives.I've a feeling they are not really on board for that flavor of "limited government". I don't think these TP people are any different than the neocons they were from 2000-2008, except in name.
Along with the addition of a small percentage of new and gullible political neophytes.
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Comment #2 posted by ekim on June 28, 2010 at 09:06:25 PT

from Howard in DC
COPs on the HillStories from the week of June 18, 2010To the delight of many, the woman on the cover of Time ‘Saint Sarah’ Palin, this week on Fox News declared marijuana to be a “minimal problem.” She used the words ‘limited resources’ as she declared the police have more important matters than an adult using marijuana in their own home. Small step, maybe medium.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 28, 2010 at 03:22:39 PT

WA State Democratic Party Endorses MJ Legalization
June 27, 2010URL:
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