Medical Marijuana Dispensary Requirements

Requirements of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Requirements of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Requirements of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
By Ellen Lenox Smith


Many people who are considering medical marijuana for pain relief are reluctant to visit medical marijuana dispensaries, fearing it might be in a bad part of town or that they may encounter some unsavory characters. Since I am a home grower of marijuana, I felt it was best to visit Medical Marijuana dispensaries in my home state of Rhode Island to get a fresh, first hand view of what the experience is like. Through the kindness of Barbara Pescowolido at the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence, this visit to Medical Marijuana Dispensary was made possible.


The first thing that I noticed, about this medical marijuana dispensary, was the professional layout that included informed, pleasant and knowledgeable employees who were there to greet me. There is 24 hour surveillance of the premises, a well-lit parking area, and a professionally trained security team. I had to show identification, which requires a Rhode Island medical marijuana patient or caregiver card,  and another form of ID, like a driver’s license. After my information was put into the computer and confirmed, I was buzzed into the center. If a patient is not able to walk without assistance, he or she can be accompanied by a licensed caregiver, who would also be required to present credentials.


Every new patient, at this medical marijuana dispensary, is given an orientation session that includes a one-to-one educational conversation, and a folder of information to take home and review for future visits.The folder includes the different methods of ingesting medical marijuana, the concentrated forms available, their laboratory testing procedures, how to use your medical marijuana sensibly, and a form that explains cannabis and the difference between sativa and indica plants.


There’s also a patient journal so you can record the type of medical marijuana you tried, how you ingested it, the date/time of taking, and the duration/effect. This is to help both the patient and staff to help make educated decisions on your next purchase. Also Included is a “Good Neighbor Agreement” the patient is to read and sign. You are expected to follow the guidelines to be able to continue using their services. They include:


  • Not to smoke or consume medical marijuana on site or in the parking lot
  • Refraining from using cellphones or cameras while in the building
  • No minors allowed unless they are patients and accompanied by a legal guardian
  • No minors left in your vehicle unattended while visiting the center
  • No animals except guide/service animals are allowed inside
  • Keep all medicine and money our of plain sight
  • No weapons allowed.
  • Do not invite individuals who are not patients or caregivers,
    unless special arrangements are made with management
  • Do not throw litter in the parking lot of surrounding area
  • Medical Marijuana purchased in the center is not for resale.
    Any member found reselling will have their membership revoked
  • Keep all conversations respectful and appropriate


New patients of this medical marijuana dispensary also learn about a wide range of free ancillary services, such as massage, reiki, hydrotherapy bed, cultivation, and classes on cooking and methods of consumption. There are also product showcases and live demo’s that include weekly open house tours, 1:1 consultations, loyalty rewards program, a community newsletter and a cannabis library/DVD section.


The next step for me was to take a number while relaxing in a tastefully designed waiting area. When you are called up to the counter, you get to work 1:1 with a knowledgeable patient advisor/employee. A menu hangs over the counter sharing what medications are available and the display presents a variety of Medical Marijuana edibles, Medical Marijuana capsules, Medical Marijuana Oil in syringes, Topical Medical Marijuana Salves, flowers and  exilers that are for sale.


This center has come up with a novel idea. For just $20, you can purchase a sampler packet that includes small samples of Medical Marijuana medicine that includes THC capsules, CBD capsules, elixir, a cookie, Medical Marijuana candy and Medical Marijuana gummy bears. This allows the patient to return home and try these different methods to decide what fits best for their needs.


Many medical marijuana dispensaries are still not able to grow all the Medical Marijuana products that are needed to accommodate patients, so there are times customers return for a specific product to find it is not available. It is difficult for medical marijuana dispensaries to have to rely on others growing for them so their  goal is to one day be totally self sufficient.


Medical Marijuana Patients are allowed to purchase 2 ½ ounces every fifteen days. Medical Marijuana Patient Records are kept in a computer so that no one ever goes over that amount unintentionally or intentionally. You are able to check the center’s website for a “menu” of the current product being sold, but you are not allowed to purchase online.  Medical Marijuana Prices presently range from $25-50 for an eighth of an ounce of product. Prices can fluctuate if the marijuana tests out to be stronger. All Medical Marijuana, either grown on site or purchased from growers, is tested and cleaned. If you live in a state that does not allow you the option to grow or does not allow you to have a caregiver grow for you, then a medical marijuana dispensary, like the one I visited, can probably meet your needs.

For a closer look at the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center, you can watch this short video the center has on YouTube:


Each state where medical marijuana is legal has different laws and regulations for both patients and medical marijuana dispensaries, so your experience may differ from mine. But visiting medical marijuana dispensaries and trying medical marijuana for pain relief could result in a significant improvement in your quality of life.




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Ellen Lenox Smith and her husband Stuart live in Rhode Island. In addition to their work for the U.S. Pain Foundation, as Co-Directors for Medical Marijuana Advocacy, they also serve as board members for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. Ellen wrote a book about her journey as a Pain Warrior, It Hurts Like Hell!” For more information about medical marijuana and how to convert it to other forms of administering besides smoking, visit their website.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of this website. Medical marijuana is legal in some U.S. states but is still technically illegal under federal law. Even in states where it is legal, doctors may frown upon marijuana and drop patients from their practice for using it.



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