Yesterday, your Gentleman, along with a small crowd of enthusiasts, industry insiders, and media attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Silver Spring’s first medical marijuana dispensary, RISE. You can watch it on my Instagram Live for a little while longer! Andy Grossman, one of the partners that owns RISE, led with a short speech thanking Montgomery County and the Silver Spring community for their support. “Today really is not about RISE; it’s about the patients of Maryland,” Grossman said. “We are so excited to bring patients of Maryland access to quality medicine in a safe and dignified manner. This has been four years in the making and we will be able to bring product to patients in the near future. Hopefully we’ll be able to open up next week, it depends on the growers and the availability of product…it’ll be the next week or so.”
Grossman introduced another GTI partner (drumroll, please), the ninth overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, former Baltimore Raven Eugene Monroe to do the honors. “I live right up the road and I hope that when we open our doors, I’m patient #1. I’ve been waiting just like you guys!” to enthusiastic laughter. “I’m a former athlete and suffered a ton of injuries and found marijuana as a tool to use instead of pills. I don’t take a single pill for any of the issues I suffer from, but I do use medical cannabis. I fully understand how it may help people with a multitude of conditions, definitely honored, privileged, thankful for the opportunity to serve the patients of Maryland who have been waiting far too long.”
The ribbon cut, we were all invited inside to have a look at the swanky new digs. RISE welcomes patients with a bright, spacious dispensary. Without any medicine inside, you could imagine the glass cases next to the sleek black counters might soon contain jewelry or, like, super-expensive artisanal chocolates. Foregoing the marijuana imagery typical in recreational states, the walls bear several bright, uplifting photos and paintings whose color schemes match the bold colors of the RISE logo.
Inside, I got to chat with the RISE team and learn a little more about what to expect as a patient. Everything you buy will be pre-packed, which makes sense; it takes a lot of time for a budtender to pull and trim buds as you wait and Maryland dispensaries are likely going to be very busy when things kick off. They will have those sniff jars with the magnifying glass on so you can check the flowers out before you purchase. I also got to chat with an extraction company that will be making concentrate using BHO, CO2, and ethanol extractions all at the same facility! Most extraction facilities use just one, since the equipment is really pricey, but this will allow them to use the optimal process for each product output (like ethanol for pull-snap). They won’t have any rosin, though, as the process to squeeze each bud is too inefficient.
And I got to meet Eugene Monroe! Dude is huge. His hands are, like, the size of my face. The former offensive tackle still looks every bit capable of knocking a defensive end flat. He was also very cool and totally understanding when I started blathering and awkwardly tried to shake his hand a second time.
I also ran into a reporter from the Washington Post, but failed to provide a good quote (11am is the Gentleman’s preferred lunch time from years of trying to avoid the rest of the lunchtime office crowds so I could schmoke a lil sumthin, too). Of course, that set my brain-hamsters on to the task of coming up with something, so here it is:
It is incredibly gratifying to finally see Maryland, the state where I was born, where I was raised, confirm the validity of marijuana’s medical benefits and create a program for access. I’ve been a cannabis patient since before that was a thing but faced a constant struggle to obtain the medicine I needed. For most of my adult life, I was chained to a goddamn sociopath for access, a sick piece of work that got off on wielding power over someone smarter than he was. Buddy, I tried to find another dealer. Like, all the time. I had my antennas out 24/7 and sometimes I did, but they’d eventually fall through. And it got so much more difficult to find anyone as I got older. I was plotting on points West before Initiative 71 came through in DC, desperate to live in a state where I could legally obtain cannabis, a place that would treat me as a valued citizen instead of a criminal. Now, I can just go home. Give me a minute, dearies. I must have something in my eye.
Keep yours on RISE Silver Spring’s Facebook page for the announcement of when their Grand Opening (with medicine!) will be. They’re located at 7900 Fenton St, Silver Spring, MD 20910. They’ll also have a Bethesda location. Oooh, it’s all happening! Are you a Maryland resident? Book your doctor’s appointment to register as a medical marijuana patient right here on my site with my partners at Green Health Docs! And don’t forget to Subscribe to my Newsletter, you little rascal, c’mere, you.