Five local young entrepreneurs announced the opening of a new medicinal cannabis clinic in Carolina, Earth Gift, a 4,000 square-foot location at the Laguna Gardens Mall.
The clinic, which has so far entailed an investment close to $500,000 is making an early entrance into Puerto Rico’s budding medicinal cannabis market, which is expected to benefit hundreds of patients with chronic diseases.
Earth Gift, which employs eight people, will have available a Medicinal Cannabis spray treatment of for patients who cannot receive it otherwise. It also will use only treatment for people with chronic cancer, company executives said.
In addition, other available treatments at the clinic will be used for patients with: HIV+ and AIDS; degenerative diseases (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis;) Crohn’s disease; fibromyalgia; Alzheimer’s; arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; anxiety disorders; epilepsy; Parkinson’s disease; anorexia; migraine; spinal cord injury; Hepatitis C; chronic pain; persistent muscle spasms; severe nausea; and cachexia.
“We’re confident that our clinic will help many people to have better quality of life. The good thing is that our clinic is in an accessible location and the range of products on offer caters to all tastes and needs,” said Luis González, president of Caribbean Medical Cannabis Center Corporation, that also created 20 indirect jobs, and more for labs and suppliers that will also benefit from the new business.
During a second phase, the company will expand its business into cannabis harvesting, as its license allows it to sow up to 10,000 square-feet of the curative plant, said Enrique Domínguez, principal grower of CMCC. A third phase will involve manufacturing.
“The harvest will be carefully done, artisanal and small. The strands of medicinal cannabis will be selected based on the health conditions for which they serve and physical and cultivation qualities of the plant,” Domínguez said.
The medicinal cannabis industry in Puerto Rico is highly regulated, requiring patients to go through a number of agencies and steps before being certified. They must have their condition certified by their physician, followed by a sworn statement from an attorney, which must be submitted to the Puerto Rico Health Department for final approval.
To be able to buy cannabis at Earth Gift, the patient must also follow a number of rigorous steps, which start the moment the person sets foot in the clinic. Earth Gift is located in a space formerly occupied by a bank, so security begins at the double doors — which have a metal detector and a mantrap system — where a guard allows the patient in.
The guard checks the patient’s ID card, registers and announces them to clinic staff. The patient must provide a driver’s license or a passport. The patient must be 21 or older, or if a minor, must be accompanied by a legal companion.
The clinic has two individualized sales areas, which can serve two patients at a time. The patient must turn over their sealed medical recommendation to the clinical staff, which in turn will offer guidance on their treatment options.