Giangreco says he provides medical pot for smoking for those patients who want it, but also offers an alcohol-dissolved marijuana that can be consumed in food or drink and "tinctures" that can be administered with an eyedropper under the tongue.
He says he produces a few varieties of pot, but most of his patients seem to prefer the strain known as "Sour Diesel" because of its distinctive scent. Giangreco believes that strain provides more basic pain relief than some types of weed bred to folks really stoned.
The proposed Connecticut system would allow a patient with a doctor's prescription to grow his or her own medical marijuana and authorize state officials to decide how much pot a patient could grow, and to license a limited number of growers to provide medical pot to a state-regulated distribution system.
The Connecticut legislation has made it through one key committee so far and is now working its way through the General Assembly's bureaucratic machine.
Rhode Island caregivers aren't supposed to charge their patients for medical pot, but they can ask them to cover growing "expenses." Giangreco declines to talk about what expenses he charges his patients, saying only that he works with each of them to make sure they can afford his medical marijuana.
Another Rhode Island source familiar with the medical marijuana scene, who asked not to be identified, says medical pot growers in that state charge patients anywhere from $200 to $400 an ounce for "expenses." The same person says the quality and strength of the medical pot being grown can also vary tremendously.
Giangreco believes there are some scam artists using their Rhode Island caregiver/legal grower status as cover for big-time illegal marijuana production, but insists they represent only a tiny percentage of the medical-pot community in that state.
Rhode Island has also approved licenses for three large medical marijuana "dispensaries" in the state. But the governor has put that program on hold because of concerns about what the feds might do.
Federal officials have cracked down hard in recent months on "legalized" medical marijuana operations in places like Oregon and California that they believe were simply fronts for big-time pot dealers.
Giangreco isn't worried that that his marijuana growing operation could get snuffed out by Rhode Island's proposed centralized pot dispensaries. "As far as I know, they don't plan to eighty-six the caregivers," he says.
The way Giangreco looks at the future, pot growing in the U.S. "is just like any other emerging industry." And like any young entrepreneur, he's confident his product is good enough to stand up to any competition.
"I'm still going to continue to produce top-quality weed for my patients," he insists.
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