WOONSOCKET — When his friend first proposed they go into business together providing gardening supplies for medical marijuana growers, Jeff Paige had cold feet.
The 51-year-old refugee from the telecommunications industry wasn’t against legal pot, medical or otherwise. But he’s no crusader, either, and he’s pretty careful about how he invests his money.
He took a hard and long look at whether the idea made business sense.
“I think what I was really doing was looking for a reason not to do it,” says Paige. “Now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do this two years ago.”
“This” is RI Hydroponics, the 14th store in the state that caters to so-called caregivers for medical marijuana users, a population that’s grown to more than 20,000 since the drug was legalized for medical use in 2006. The law is set up to allow caregivers to supply legal users by growing marijuana themselves.
Located at 85 Front St., RI Hydroponics is next door to a pizza shop and across the street from the Crepeau Court senior center, whose tenants were among his earliest visitors, says Paige.
“They thought I was a fruit stand,” he says.
After all the research he put in before deciding to go forward with the venture, it was a lesson he learned from his investment club that sealed the deal: “They always say, ‘The trend is your friend,’” said Paige.