The first medical marijuana dispensary in the Bronx opens Monday. NY1's Erin Clarke got a sneak peek of the facility.
A plain gray storefront on Hunts Point Avenue is the newest medical marijuana dispensary in the city. It's operated by PharmaCannis, which runs three similar sites upstate.
"How does this affect the average person? Well, I think we all know someone who has a situation where they're suffering in pain," said Rachel Schepart, regional manager of PharmaCannis. "Cannabis can help with that."
Security is tight at this and all medical marijuana facilities in the state. To get inside, a patient or certified caregiver must provide three forms of ID, including documentation the medical marijuana is needed for a qualifying debilitating or life-threatening disease, like cancer or Parkinson's.
"It's just a level of security so we don't have anyone walking into the facility," said Nelson Cuevas, general manager and pharmacist at PharmaCannis.
Patients are directed to a plain waiting room, and then to a meeting with a patient care specialist and then a pharmacist, who fills the prescription.
The marijuana will not look like the pot sold illegally on the street.
"There's going to be nothing dressed up like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup that someone might get their hands on by accident," said Matthew Perlmutter, community outreach officer with PharmaCannis. "This looks like medicine, which is what it is."
The marijuana comes in two forms: a liquid used with a small dropper called a tincture, or an oil used in a vaporizer. Neither form was in stock when we visited.
PharmaCannis is also in the process of developing tablets and an oral spray.
All products are dispensed in an up-to-30-day supply.
PharmaCannis wants to dispell the myth that medical marijuana dispensaries are promoting recreational use. In fact, the Bronx facility looks very much like a typical medical clinic.
"It's not here to get high. There's nothing recreational about this. This is really sick people getting the help that they have been unable to get up until this point."
And New Yorkers can find out for themselves. PharmaCannis will hold an open house Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.
For more information, go to pharmacannis.com.