As recreational marijuana becomes legalized in some states, dispensaries are being forced to comply with new regulations.
Our marijuana lawyers are aware that the regulations are different for medicinal marijuana dispensaries and those that sell to recreational patients.
In Colorado, for instance, even though the products are very similar and the same dispensary may legally sell both medical and recreational marijuana, the businesses themselves operate very differently.
Some shops have been forced to spend as much as $80,000 to renovate their facilitates so they can serve both medicinal and recreational marijuana users. These renovations involved putting up walls, and more than just physical ones.
Simply put, the complication is that recreational shops can only server users 21 and over, however, medicinal marijuana shops are able to serve younger customers. State law now requires the dispensary to put up a wall between the two stores and provide a separate entry for each.
This provides an extra layer of complexity for those dispensaries who wanted to continue their medicinal business while simultaneously expanding into the recreational side.
It so happens that of the 171 stores in Colorado only 4 seem to have chosen to completely convert from medicinal marijuana dispensaries to recreational dispensaries.
There are different ways to handle the new regulations, however. For example, a store may choose not to put up a wall and separate entrances but this means that all buyers, including medicinal marijuana patients must be over the age of 21.
A number of dispensaries have taken this route and will be known as co-terminus stores. A dispensary which chooses to put up a physical wall between the two sides will be known as co-located stores.
Marijuana dispensaries are finding it somewhat difficult to separate the two sides of their business. Unfortunately, there are significant construction costs as well as permits, not to mention the disruption to their day to day business operations.
Recreational dispensaries are already fairly difficult to establish and less than 5% of Colorado’s medicinal marijuana patients are under 21. This leaves dispensaries in a tough spot.
It is certainly cheaper, in the short run, to just combine the two sides of the business and not allow anyone under the age of 21 to enter the facility but what about long term consequences?
In addition, there are other regulations to be concerned with but another factor is the separation of the two cultures. The businesses really do serve different needs.
On the medical side you have patients who are seeking relief from ailments, while on the recreational side the purpose of purchasing marijuana is, well, for recreation.
Medicinal patients typically care about discussing the various effects of different strains while recreational patients are usually more interested in a quick turnaround.
It remains to be seen how marijuana businesses will cope with the ever changing times, but they will certainly have adjustments to make as they react to different regulations by the state and localities.
The Colorado CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
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