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MA man hopes to establish medical marijuana classes in RI

July 29, 2010

With the motto “Training Tomorrow’s Medical Marijuana Professionals,”  a school designed by Massachusetts resident Luis Hernandez hopes to charge Rhode Islanders $200 to attend a weekend class on growing medical marijuana. Hernandez also plans to offer classes in Vermont and Maine.

He says he established his school- the “New England School of Alternative Horticultural Studies” only a few months ago and has no official background in horticulture.  He says he’s trained as a systems engineer and marijuana cultivation is his “underground” hobby.

It’s something you basically keep quiet. Folks like myself never dared to break the law, so we just learned about it without actually doing much until such time that could change.

There is no confirmed location for the first class, although Hernandez says he’s talking to the Warwick Holiday Inn.

Rhode Island doesn’t allow individuals to sell medical marijuana for a profit- they must be designated as caregivers by a medical marijuana patient and only charge for the cost of electricity and equipment. Currently, some caregivers give their marijuana away for free.

That didn’t stop Hernandez from calling medical marijuana a good side job for unemployed Rhode Islanders, until I pointed out to him that they can’t make a profit. Of course he said, “we do not encourage any breaking or pushing of the envelope.” Ten people have already signed up for his class.

Joanne Leppanen with RIPAC had never heard of Hernandez and his school.  RIPAC currently offers free courses for caregivers and their patients about how to cultivate marijuana.

Leppanen expects more people to come into RI trying to make a profit off our medical marijuana laws. She says she receives a fair number of calls from residents of Massachusetts hoping to receive  caregiver licenses, even though it’s still illegal to grow medical marijuana in the bay state.

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