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Inside A Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Dispensary

By Bobby Sisk, WBZ-TV
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PORTSMOUTH, RI (CBS) – The plan to bring medical marijuana to Massachusetts is in chaos, and some people think state officials need to start over. But at some point those centers are going to open here. We wondered what that’s going to be like, so we went to one next door in Rhode Island.

The Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth, RI sits on a nondescript road in a nondescript building. Patients can only get in once they show their state patient cards. “We have 750 registered patients,” says Greenleaf CEO Seth Bock, a doctor of acupuncture.

It’s a bit odd the first time you walk into the center because everywhere you look, there’s marijuana. There are several different strains and large canisters are filled with it. There’s hash oil, pipes, vaporizers and what they call “edibles.” “We produce brownies, we produce granola bars, we produce candies, infused olive oil, infused honey. We’re actually building our edible line at the moment,” says Bock.

Related: Gov. Patrick On Medical Marijuana

Open since June, Greenleaf is one of only two operating medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island, and has a steady stream of patients. Kevin Fitzgerald buys his marijuana there. “I have diverticulitis, colitis. Taking marijuana really helps me out, instead of taking the 10, 12 pills a day,” he says. Dan Dawson uses medical marijuana to treat his Lyme Disease. “Before using marijuana you’re feeling pain. Whereas when using marijuana, the pain goes away,” says Dawson.

Though there are differences between the Rhode Island and Massachusetts systems, both require a doctor’s approval, patients need to register with the state, and there are limits on how much you can buy. And CEO Seth Bock says concerns about dispensaries are overblown. “We’re taking it from the black market and we’re producing it with very high standards, extraordinary layers of regulation and getting it to the people who really need it so those people don’t have to buy it on the street,” he says.

We asked Bock about the concern many people have that people will buy medical marijuana and turn around and sell it. Bock argues that dispensaries must sell marijuana at the street price, so there would be no profit for someone to get marijuana at a dispensary and then sell it.

Greenleaf is in a commercial area of town and grows most of its’ marijuana on-site. We checked with the Portsmouth Police Chief and he said his department hasn’t had any issues with the dispensary.

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