They've been open in Tucson for months, but now Santa Cruz County has its first medical marijuana dispensary.
The non-profit Green Med Wellness Center just opened two weeks ago in Rio Rico, north of Nogales.
Green Med Co-owner Jean-Paul Genet shows us some of the products available to customers. "All of these will help with hunger, will help with pain, will help with swelling," he says.
Genet says his company has a dispensary in Tucson and they saw the need for a medical marijuana dispensary in Santa Cruz County.
"We have people coming from Sonoita, from Patagonia and saying this is great. We don't have to go to Tucson any more," Genet.
Security is tight.
Genet says potential customers cannot enter the product area without a medical marijuana card issued by the state of Arizona.
They need a valid card to purchase marijuana.
He says about half his customers are over the age of 60.
Genet says the dispensary has received mostly positive feedback from people in the area.
"We're not selling it to people so they can--quote, unquote--get high. That's not our purpose. Our purpose is to provide the products for legitimate medicinal uses,"
We asked a few people in the area for their opinions on having a medical marijuana dispensary in the neighborhood.
One declined to give an opinion.
Here's what the other three had to say.
"If it's legal I don't have a problem with it. From what I understand, it's all secure so you're not going to have much problems," says Aleatha Moyer, owner of A.M. Tax & Accounting, LLC.
Rio Rico resident Mayra Mendoza says, "It's a good thing for those who really need it and, I mean, it's more convenient. They don't have to drive all the way up to Tucson."
"If people need it, it's a safe and secure way for them to get it," says another Rio Rico resident, Kate Hutson O'meara. She adds, "It has to be somewhere. If we do something about everything we don't want in the neighborhood, we're not going to have much of a neighborhood."
Green Med started with just a couple of patients per day, but its clientele is growing as word gets out about it.
In addition to providing a product, Genet says his company has a role in educating the public about medical marijuana, and even in lobbying lawmakers.
"To change the laws, basically and to open their eyes and their ears and look at the information which has been available to them for a long time and see the benefits--not just medically, but fiscally, as well, from a tax base point of view," Genet says.
He says Green Med hopes to increase its selection, and to add edibles and topicals within a few months.
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