Good morning, faithful followers!! Pushing 6:30am here and the fish may, or may not, be biting. The BF has gone out to forage so that leaves me with this time with you. Before I get into the details of how to start your own dispensary, let me that you the things that have been happening these last few days… Basically nothing. We have been living the life of some sort of beach bum/hippie/late teen. The other day, I literally said (out loud), “So we’re 57 years old? And we’re having stoned sex on a mattress on the floor and listening to Starship at 10am?” The Man answers, “Does it get any better??” And, I am here to say, “It does not…” LOL Oh, well….In all fairness….We both work (him hard, me not so much) and pay our bills….HE even pays taxes! So I think that whatever we want to do in our “spare” time, is our business. I’m just sharing it with you to make you jealous. LOL (Boy, I’m full of myself this morning, aren’t I?) So are you? And more importantly, do you want to start your own dispensary??
How To Start Your Own Dispensary
To open a legal dispensary, first, you must determine if you can legally do this in your state. I know, sounds like a no brainer but, you’d be surprised, a lot of people get so excited that they skip this crucial step. Once you have figured out the laws in your state (this might take some phone calls or visits to an attorney), you can get going on this.
The first step seems to be opening a collective. What you need here is a group of like minded individuals all with their own cards. (It helps if they have a little money.) Ok, this falls under the law, Patients and Caregivers are allowed to cultivate their medicine. In order to comply, the collective must be a properly organized and operated association. And since we are operating legally, here is a list of qualifications we are going to need to get the venture rolling:
- Patients need to be legally qualified
- Medicine needs to be sourced directly from members
- Medicine needs to be provided exclusively to members
- Basis of operation cannot be for profit
The most challenging of these, in the beginning, will be the “sourced directly from members”. Since you, no doubt, will start small, with few members, supply will be short. Here is where people screw up. They start buying up ILLEGAL meds to get a jump start on their collective. You CAN’T be doing this! Start small, follow the laws, and be cool; you’ll be fine. And here’s something I never heard of. IF a member has left over meds at the end of the period (month, for instance), they SHOULD return them to the collective for redistribution. (WHO THE F*CK has left over meds??!! I, for one, never do and am usually short by the end of the month.)
Remember, this is not for profit. This is a noncommercial biz. This means reinvesting ALL the surplus revenue back into a noncommercial activity or into the provision for service to the members. This is the rewarding part, knowing you will be helping people through the efficient running of the collective services.
Now comes the legal jargon. The lovely IRS differentiates between Not For Profits and Nonprofit companies. A nonprofit (churches and schools, for instance) may be exempt from state and federal taxes. BUT a not for profit is still liable for taxes. So, here’s the jargon part, when opening your collective, it is best to start out as a Non Profit Mutual Benefit Corporation. This adds credibility to the endeavor and assists with relationships with elected officials and the general neighborhood.
There are many patients who rely on collective services. It is important to remember this and try to engage all members of the community towards the goal of helping those who cannot help themselves.
Here’s your mission. Members have to understand it will be slim pickin’s for awhile, til you get really running. Members who do grow should be encouraged to, while conforming to state law, grow and bring into the collective, any “left over” medication. This can be shared with the other members. Look for “vendors”. These are medically qualified patients adept at the art of growing. Some have been growing for awhile and have stores of “left over” meds that they are just looking for a collective such as yours!
Here is where I’m going to briefly run through the Colorado laws and the California laws. (I did not have access to current Washington State laws at the time of this writing.) Colorado is very forward thinking. They have quite a few dispensaries that add to the local economy. The first Colorado laws came into existence back in June of 01. In November of 2000, a vote was passed by 57% to decriminalize Marijuana for medical purposes. This law is known as Amendment 20. Amendment 20 is VERY specific. For example, people who have specific certified conditions may legally possess up to two ounces of marijuana for their own use only. They are not allowed to use the drug in any public places or in front of any members of the public. Amendment 20 also allows for a certain amount of legal cultivation of marijuana, as somebody who is on the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry may own up to six plants. (Colorado accepted illnesses include cancer, glaucoma, and HIV and AIDS.) This law has led to the opening of many dispensaries in Colorado.
Now for California laws. California is different than Colorado. Marijuana is still ILLEGAL in California under federal law. However, Prop 215 and SB420 have recognized patient rights to Medical Marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation and has made provisions for the formation of collectives. But this is not a state to go running off half cocked as everytime you serve a patient, you are violating federal law and could be jailed. Terminology is crucial in California. The way you say it, could be your downfall. It IS Medical Marijuana NOT pot, weed, or marijuana.
So this is a start. In the next blog, we will investigate further. I hope to help you with all the forms and paperwork. Maybe find that info on Washington State….
But for now….It’s peace out, faithful followers….Back to Starship…..