The weather is finally taking a turn for the better in Providence, and so are the times for medical marijuana patients (MMPs for short). Opened last February on Peck St in Downcity is the Elevated Lounge, an MMP-only lounge where patients can get together to learn, socialize and medicate in a comfortable, safe and friendly environment.
I walked through the front door next to a large glass window with the company logo on it and found myself in a powder-blue room facing the glass case containing vaporizers and accessories the establishment rents to patrons. Behind the case was an industrial dishwasher used for washing the merchandise between uses, additional vaping apparati and, of course, the snack bar.
To the right of the door is where the magic happens; the rest of the space is taken up by an array of comfy couches, low coffee tables and chairs for the patrons to settle into while they congregate. The walls are tastfully decorated with small framed pictures and a couple flatscreen TVs, setting the backdrop for the exchange of ideas and good vibes that takes place while patient members medicate.
I was greeted by Ray Diao, who cofounded the Elevated Lounge with Kevin Cintorino. Ray was gracious enough to answer my questions and allow me to have a look around the establishment.
Ray and Kevin were inspired to open the Elevated Lounge largely by their personal experience as patients. Unable to medicate in the building they lived in, they were forced to look for alternative places to take their medicine. They decided to adapt a West Coast model for a patient lounge to the East Coast medical community’s needs. After studying the law extensively, the duo began the search for a locale in which to nurture their dream into a reality. It took some shopping around before they settled into the Peck St location because not all the landlords they approached were receptive to their concept.
Their location has been transformed into a place where cardholding members can come to vaporize (not smoke) their medicine and participate in a variety of events ranging from a viewing of the Justin Beiber roast to a weekly event dubbed “Shatterday,” where patients compare notes on the production of their medicated oil. Patients have a forum in which to discuss their ailments and the ever-evolving law governing the use and procurement of their medication, and compare and share growing and edible techniques.
Although currently unable to offer medication onsite, the lounge is located only minutes away from the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center, a place where cardholders who are unable to provide themselves with their own medicine can procure it legally.
It is my opinion that the Elevated Lounge and establishments like it are an important step forward in the progression of medical marijuana policy. They provide a focal point for patients to gather and enjoy the relief that their chosen medicine allows while sharing in the fellowship of others in the same position. They allow people to come together and share knowledge and experience, and surely will be the birthplace of many forward-thinking concepts that will one day become the norm.