A couple of Johnson & Wales University graduates in Providence, RI are taking higher education to the next level.
Over the weekend, Kevin Cintorino and Ray Diao opened doors of operation to Elevated, the northeast’s first medical marijuana vapor lounge.
The opening was low key with only about a dozen customers and potential members taking advantage on the first day. Cintorino explained,
“Lots of people came by early and were asking about memberships, but because they had to go to work they couldn’t stay,”
The lounge has small storefront located on Peck Street in Providence (pictured below). The combination of medical marijuana and vaping, rather than traditional smoking methods has resulted in a lounge business that, perhaps because of the novelty factor, is not highly regulated by the city or state.
This business model avoids issues with the state-wide smoking ban because combustion never occurs when cannabis is vaporized, and therefore no smoke is produced.
“We want to do everything by the book, so we called the [state] Department of Health and the city, but no one knows how to treat it,”
said Cintorino. Adding that the only permits he needed, as directed by state officials, were a general retail license and a permit to be open on Sundays.
With that in mind, a man identifying himself as a Providence police officer visited the store during a live interview with a reporter. The officer said he was only there to learn more about the lounge’s permitting and did not answer any further questions.
Cintorino reported that his inspiration behind opening Elevated came from personal experiences as a medical marijuana user for a stomach ailment and the success of lounges in Colorado. To be clear, public lounges are not legal in Colorado – we assuming he is referring to a number of social clubs that operate throughout the state.
“A lot of landlords don’t let you use medicine in your apartment, so people have to go to their friends’ houses and other places that aren’t convenient,”
Cintorino elaborated. Some medical marijuana patients do not have anywhere to consume since it is also illegal to smoke outside and in other public places. Cintorino continued, “Here they can relax and talk about what works best with other people who know about it.”
Elevated will not dispense any marijuana. Patients will be required to bring their own. The shop will generate revenue through memberships, private usage, rental of the space, vaporizer rentals and accessory sales.
The single-year membership is $65, one-month is $34 and single-day a symbolic $4.20
Cintorino boldly revealed to reporters that he took out a line of credit through Bank of America to help renovate the lounge, and has invested between $20,000-30,000 in the renovating the lounge. Currently the shop operates as a traditional e-juice / e-cig bar according the listing on Yelp.
photo credit: KRIS CRAIG