Running a Medical Marijuana Dispensary

medical-marijuanaMedical cannabis dispensaries should, in essence, be run along the same lines as a traditional pharmacy, that is safety, legal compliance and a high standard of care for patients are paramount.

If you are thinking of opening a medical marijuana dispensary, you need to be aware of the medical marijuana state laws.

  1. No dispensary should operate within 1000 feet of a school or close to candy stores, toyshops, parks, play areas or business parks associated with high volumes of  passing children
  2. Dispensaries must be clearly differentiated from illegal drug dealers and act as a bona fide medical service provider.  This means paying local, state, and city taxes, as well as providing written receipts for all transactions.
  3. There should be no vending machines, drive-up windows and no unsupervised transactions should take place.  This means that dispensaries must have licensed staff present during hours of operation.
  4. A dispensary will only service as many patients as the employees may personally take care of. Dispensary owners and staff should take a direct role in the healthcare of the patient. This necessitates knowing each patient personally, having an understanding of that persons conditions or diseases, and working with that person regularly to keep treatment up to date and appropriate to the disease progress.
  5. Marijuana from the streets must not be used – ever.  Such cannabis may be contaminated, laced, mislabelled and of varying quality.  Correct medical treatment relies on consistency of product, which only comes from being sourced from the same growers using regular and reliable techniques.  Knowledge of plant genetics increases the success rate of medical cannabis treatment.
  6. Contact details of local treatment centers for alcohol, opiate, and other substance abuse must be kept up to date and readily available. If a dispensary owner feels that a patient has a substance abuse problem he or she should discuss the issue with that patient.  The dispensary owner should nurture a good working relationship with local drug abuse counsellors and be prepared to undertake additional training for dealing with drug abuse issues if necessary.
  7. A dispensary should not provide cannabis in just its raw, smoking form.  Other forms of the medicine such as vaporizers, oils, drinks, balms and food stuffs should also be stocked and offered. Because different cannabis strains are useful for different illnesses, dispensary owners should identify patients’ medical cannabis needs, rather than recreational likes and dislikes.  A questionnaire is a good way of doing this.
  8. A monthly limit should be imposed on patient purchases.  One study revealed that in a group of licensed patients, 93% successfully alleviated their condition with 4 ounces or less of marijuana each month. Of course, some patients legitimately need more; these patients should be asked to obtain a note from their physician, or to sign a consent form allowing the dispensary owner to speak to the patient’s doctor directly. This rule is essential to prevent the resale of medical marijuana on the street and to help prevent abuse of the drug.
  9. The dispensary should maintain business hours comparable to stores and businesses in the immediate vicinity. Stores should not be open after dark and should not make exceptions to these hours by allowing patients come to the store when it is closed. If a patient is in desperate, legitimate need of their medication, the dispensary owner could deliver the medicine to the patient before/after normal hours of operation.
  10. Before opening a dispensary to the public, the owner should contact the local county
  11. sheriff’s office to inform of their intentions. This simple action will go a long way towards demonstrating the owner’s intentions in maintaining legal compliance and an ongoing relationship between the two communities.
  12. Dispensaries should endeavour to maintain open and honest communication with neighbors and take seriously any comments or complaints about smell, noise, loitering, or other potential concerns.medical-marijuana-dispensary
  13. Dispensary owners and their employees should have at least a basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology, heath and medicine; if this is not the case, a trained professional in one of these fields should be available at regular publicised times.
  14. Dispensary staff should provide emotional support as well as medicine. Developing a social program can be very helpful to the sick and debilitated who quite often become fairly isolated.  Activities such as movie nights, game nights and barbecues can increase a patient’s sense of belonging and community.
  15. All dispensaries should invest in high security, and should have at least three of the following security measures: day/night security cameras on backup generators; steel doors or solid wood doors with deadbolts; silent alarms at numerous easily accessible locations; pepper spray or a self-defense only form of equipment; bullet-proof glass.
  16. No weapons should ever be allowed in dispensary premises unless carried by law enforcement or an officially licensed armored vehicle service. This includes any type of knife longer than that found on nail clippers. If a patient brings a weapon into a dispensary for any reason the police should be notified.
  17. Patients should be seen on an appointment only basis and there should be no more than three patients per employee on the premises at any one time.
  18. There should be no advertisements on the building suggesting that marijuana is in the store.
  19. When it comes to self-medication on the premises, bear in mind how disruptive it can get in a bar when a bar tender has allowed a customer to drink too much.
  20. You must get parental consent for any patients under the age of 21.
  21. Check your inventory daily and know who is handling what material and when they’re handling it. Use a password entry system on cash registers so that you can track inventory handling and identify theft.
  22. Never keep more than a days worth of inventory on display.  The rest of the inventory should be stored safely and securely out of the way of public access.
  23. Keep pricing consistent and below recreational street prices.

If you are serious about opening up a medical marijuana dispensary, I would recommend buying this “How to Open a Marijuana Dispensary Guide“.

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Comments

  1. hi raiderfan74 tryn to gather as much info on opening my own mmj dispensary in il. if law ever passes would love any advice on lic. info and day to day operation knowledge thanks.

  2. Readers and dispensary owners, We currently have a few dispensaries in Colorado and we are looking to buy additional dispensaries. Does anyone have any suggestions where we can advertise that we are interested in making serious offers to buy established dispensary (difficult to track down owners). Thanks forum

  3. We currently own dispensaries in Colorado and we are looking to buy additional locations. Does anyone have any suggestion of where to advertise that we are looking to buy established businesses? Thanks

  4. In California does the employees or owners have to be MM card holders and if now does the law treat them differently either by state law or fed law?

  5. Hi There my name is Mike im Currently trying to pursue opening a mmj dispensary in AZ once the law is passed in Nov. Can you Give me some advice on how to go about doing so anything on this topic would be a great help.

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