Medical marijuana cultivation center opens in Phoenix

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by Brandy Aguilar, Special projects

azfamily.com

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Updated Saturday, Feb 18 at 9:49 AM

PHOENIX -- Nearly 1,200 caregivers in Arizona are legally allowed to grow medical marijuana, but finding places to grow it can be challenging. A medical marijuana advocacy organization believes it has a solution.

“I had the cortisone shots,” Daniel Martin said. “I've even had other narcotics.”

This is how Martin used to treat his chronic pain, but now he finds relief with medical marijuana. He's one of nearly 20,000 Arizonans who are legally allowed to have the drug. 

“The medical marijuana isn't as debilitating when I take it,” Martin said.

But Martin wanted to help other patients. So he also became a registered caregiver, which means he can grow medical marijuana.

“First of all, I couldn't grow it at home and I wasn't that familiar with growing it,” Martin said.

Martin turned to Compassion First Caregiver Circle for help. A new cultivation center where Valley registered caregivers can grow marijuana in their own private spaces.
  
“We have 50 caregivers who are cultivating on behalf of up to five patients each,” Kendric Speagle said.

Speagle is the chief development officer at Compassion First Caregiver Circle. He said the center provides everything from tent space to cultivation experts and even a place for caregivers and patients to interact.

“The safe space is where patients and caregivers meet to talk about issues associated with medical marijuana and it's also where they meet to exchange medical marijuana,” Speagle said.

The facility has 24-hour security and is surrounded by cameras. This was something Dr. Keith South, who is also a medical marijuana patient, really liked when it came to setting up shop.
 
“It's all about taking care of people that are in chronic conditions,” South said. “There has never been anything to show that there is anything harmful about using cannabis.”

When asked if he was worried about having any run-ins with the law, South said, “I guess there is always that possibility, but to me, we're the forerunners out creating a new path that needs to be done.”

And for those who say caregivers may be in it for the money, “You got all this cost associated with setting this up and any donations that are taken here go back to Compassion First to pay for the equipment and anything above that actually goes to charity,” Martin said. ‘So there's no profit to be made here.”

The cultivation center, which is being called the nation’s first, also provides on-site training for caregivers and certification services for patients.

Their grand opening is Saturday, Feb. 18. For all the details, log on to www.caregivercircleaz.com.
  
 
 

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