Last week, the Department of Health approved an application submitted by Dr. Seth Bock to open a "compassion center," or medical marijuana center, in Portsmouth.
Bock, who owns and operates the Newport Acupuncture and Wellness Spa in Middletown, intends to open a non-profit medical marijuana center at 200 Highpoint Ave., Unit B-6.
On Tuesday, Bock sat down with Portsmouth Patch and discussed security plans for the center, which he expects to open as early as this July.
"It's looking like we'll hold a soft opening in July and have a grand opening later in August," Bock said.
The "soft opening," according to Bock, will mean the delivery of medicine to an unknown number of patients.
While there are currently zero patients as of right now, the CEO of the Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center says he expects up to 100 patients on Aquidneck Island when the center opens. That number is expected to increase.
The center is expected to staff two full-time employees for the dispensary side and another two employees for the horticultural side. Medicinal marijuana will be grown on site.
The cost for this "medicine," which is how Bock refers to the product, will range from $0 for those who qualify to a maximum of $350-$400 an ounce. A select number of clients, those receiving Social Security or Social Security Disability Insurance, may be eligible to receive free medicine, according to the CEO of Greenleaf.
Under the state requirements, a patient may only receive 2 1/2 ounces every two weeks, Bock said.
While that may seem like a sizeable amount, according to Bock, many patients, "cook it with butter." The medicinal marijuana then "loses a lot of that dry weight," he says.
Patients may only receive the medicinal marijuana if they have received a card from the state granting the Greenleaf Compassion Center as a caregiver, he says.
Under the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act, compassion centers are granted as "primary caregivers." To learn more information about the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program, click here.
Bock says there will be a number of security measures put into place and that he will work with the Portsmouth Police Department. To hear more about security at the site, click on the video attached above.
Greenleaf, a not-for-profit, is financially supported by individual donations. The "start up" funding was intially $400,000, but that amount will increase, says Bock.
To view the complete application submitted to the Department of Health and learn more about the requirements for the Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center, click here.