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Director of Medical Marijuana Center Supports Governor's Decision

Dr. Seth Bock spoke out in support of the Gov. Lincoln Chafee's decision Monday, hoping the 'hold' starts a 'larger movement.'

, who plans to open a medical marijuana facility in Portsmouth, said he supports Gov. Lincoln Chafee's decision on Monday to put licenses for the state's first three marijuana centers on hold, and he hopes the conversation between governors leads to a "larger movement."

"I understand the approach the governor is taking, and in talking with governors around the country," Bock said. "Maybe it will signal a larger movement in getting the federal government on a program to help patients.

"I'm very glad he (Chafee) wants to talk with the other governors. I hope, very soon, he takes support of this."

According to Projo.com, Gov. Lincoln Chafee has decided to place a hold on the opening of state-approved medical marijuana centers. Chafee said, in a press release issued Monday, he would place the program on hold and consult with other governors throughout the country.

Chafee made his announcement following a letter sent by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. To view the statement by Chafee and full story on Projo.com, click here.

Neronha reportedly said he opposes the opening of three state-approved medical marijuana centers, including one in Portsmouth. 

Neronha told Projo.com he hopes the three don't open and he might have to take "some action" if they do. There was no further explanation about what "action" Neronha would take, only that the cultivation of marijuana in great amounts "violates federal law."

To read the full story and Neronha's comments, click here.

"We were very surprised," Bock said about Neronha's statement. "This program represents a better model than what they currently use. We are caregivers first. From the law enforcement standpoint, if you bring all the caregivers under one roof, it is easier to regulate it and protect the patients."

On March 15, the state Department of Health approved an application from to open a medical marijuana center or "compassion center" in Portsmouth. Bock's application for the Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center was among the three applications chosen by the Department of Health on Tuesday for a registration certificate.

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.

Bock received his building permit for inside construction of the center on Monday. He said the construction is now on hold pending the governor's decision.

"Certain aspects of our operations are now on hold, such as the construction," said Bock. "We were retrofitting our facility to meet the needs of a compassion center. We will now be redirecting our energies in lobbying the state." 

When asked if Bock or the board of directors planned to hire a lawyer or lobbyist to fight the decision, Bock said they hadn't discussed that option yet.

"No, we haven't gone that far," he said. "Hopefully, by the end of the week, we'll know more."

Bock had not started any interior construction at the center yet, but spent several "tens of thousands" on planning and development, he said.

No patients are legally allowed to register with the center at this time, but more than 100 people have expressed interest in becoming patients, according to Bock.

Dan May 02, 2011 at 08:35 PM
Why would you want the federal government involved in the process considering they can't even run their own programs correctly? Not to mention they still continually harass Caregivers in CA and Colorado through the ATF. The decision from the Governor is just a stalling / BS tactic, sorry to say.
Joe Sousa. May 03, 2011 at 02:32 AM
If patients need relief they can call Rep Watson for a referral.

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