On a rare, rainy day in Southern California, I visit RR Patients Alliance (RRPA). The perfect weather for what feels like a covert mission. Hidden in plain sight, RRPA sits amongst a street of mixed use buildings and adjacent to a family home in a typical suburban community.
Rene Rodriguez, Founder and Cultivation Specialist, greets me at the gate with a modest smile. I pull into the secure lot and hear the gate shut behind me as I step out to say hello. Rene is a gentle man, the type I imagine would have the patience to work in such a detailed and time consuming industry. We enter an office full of security equipment, before heading into the main area for a conversation that feels like the beginning of a lovely friendship.
“I do this to make a living and help people. When I started, I prayed for God to put up any road blocks necessary if this business was ever going to change me. So far, so good!”
At 3000 square feet, RRPA has five rooms for cultivating medical cannabis. The hallways are sterile and it’s a little chilly as we enter one of the large flowering rooms. I’m instantly appreciative of the expansive rows, obviously only a few weeks from harvest. The room smells lovely. Rene sees my look of awe, smirks and says, “I spent a week at Oaksterdam™ to learn this.” After 17 years as a Chimney Sweep, only a year in this facility and two in the business, Rene still considers himself a newbie. His commitment to providing the best quality product for his clients and their patients is palpable.
“I do this to make a living and help people. When I started, I prayed for God to put up any road blocks necessary if this business was ever going to change me. So far, so good!” Rene’s wife of 27 years was so unhappy at first that it resulted in a short separation and counseling. Today, his wife is helping to start Upscale Green™, a new business that will assist patients with establishing home cultivation sites. “Everything comes full circle,” he says.
The future of RRPA looks bright! Renee tells me that this current harvest is accounted for and they continue to expand. He hopes that with a little luck, a lot of hard work and his continued faith in God, he can soon purchase a 10000 square foot building. He’s poised and ready for California licensure in 2018.