Please welcome, The Conscious Consumer! She has granted us access to her experiences as a woman patient from Riverside County as a contributing blogger and we are extremely grateful to have her. Enjoy! – Cara
A new patient’s point of view buying medical cannabis.
I am a new medicinal cannabis patient, I am also a female over the age of 25. I live in Riverside County where there is only one dispensary and they price cannabis according to the per capita income of our wealthy, mostly white, Christian suburb. This is my account of buying medicinal cannabis in a dispensary for the first time.
Most of the dispensaries are located north in the city of Lake Elsinore along the east shore where crime is high and the neighborhoods are sketchy at best. It is not a place I enjoy going to and makes buying my medicine an anxiety filled chore. Most of these places are close to 100 year old homes turned retail shops that if you didn’t notice the green light on the outside you would pass right on by.
My first stop is in a little cottage and once inside, I see how the place is practically falling apart. As I sat in the tiny waiting room, I notice the wooden window frames are pulling away from the rotted and old plaster on the walls. It smells of dank and mold all at the same time. I’m not quite sure if this is where I want to buy quality medicine but I convince myself to take the risk. It’s not all bad at this place though, the staff was super nice and they did have their strains tested for THC and CBD percentages. However, the budtender didn’t say whether or not the cannabis had been tested for herbicides/pesticides or mold, and I didn’t press the issue as a nervous first time buyer.
The dispensary had about 20 different strains of sativa, indica, and hybrid varieties. Out of those, only two strains were high in CBD. Neither of those strains was higher than 10% CBD. I was looking for the popular CBD rich strain called ACDC which they didn’t carry, so I purchased a hybrid variety called Cherry Bomb instead. (***disclaimer: the strain Cherry Bomb is NOT a 1:1, we share this to show how staff is not always educated on cannabis and how this impacts patient care***) It’s a strain that has a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. The budtender did throw in a free pre-roll for me as a first time customer which was nice.
The second stop was at a dispensary down the road from the first, in a warehouse painted black with no windows and a front door painted green. To one side is an empty lot filled with weeds and on the other side is a restaurant. There is no official parking lot and I have to park on the main road. Surprisingly, this store looks rather new inside and is much larger than the first. There is a large staff that is mostly female and under the age of 25. I think the only male staff there was the security guard in the waiting room. The budtenders were friendly and mostly clothed, minus one young lady who seemed to think wearing a super low cut dress with her breasts falling out was appropriately professional. (Sigh.) This dispensary had sold out of the ACDC strain by the time I got there, but I did buy the hybrid strain Cannatonic that was 4.2% THC and 7.6% CBD. All of their buds were held in clear jars that were labeled and displayed in lighted cases that were easily viewable although not specially presented.
Overall, my experience buying medical cannabis for the first time was a disappointment. I was disappointed in the professionalism of these workplaces. It may not be their fault; maybe my personal wish for safe and sustainably grown cannabis is too much to ask for at this point in southern California dispensaries. Maybe it was the area I was buying in, and the city ordinances that prevent these businesses from moving into safer, newer, and more visible shopping centers. Maybe it’s the city’s voters that don’t want dispensaries in major shopping centers. All of these are possible reasons for the seedy environment I am forced to buy my cannabis from, along with many other social stigmas that go along with cannabis use.
I personally look forward to recreational use in 2018. I hope it will bring cannabis to the forefront as a viable industry for small farmers in California. I want an industry where cannabis will be tested for pesticides (hopefully) as well as potency, and bring marijuana out of the dark ages and into the new hands and bright minds of creative entrepreneurs. I’m ready to see class and professionalism be brought to the industry that California consumers deserve and will surely demand.
The Conscious Consumer