RI OKs medical pot dispensary to open

Rhode Island's first medical marijuana dispensary has received its state permit to open and plans to begin providing medicinal pot by the end of the month.

The state's health department approved the permit for the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center on Thursday.

The Slater center plans to open to patients on April 19.

The facility plans to grow its own marijuana but the first batch of medicine will be purchased from growers who participate in the state's medical marijuana program. That's because Slater wasn't allowed to have any marijuana on hand while it awaited its final permits.

Lawmakers approved dispensaries as a safe and reliable source of medicine for patients enrolled in the state's medical marijuana program.

Two other dispensaries in Warwick and Portsmouth are awaiting their state permits.