Medical marijuana has become big business in California. Billions of dollars are being made by the new dispensaries that seem to be growing as rapidly as the weed itself on a diet of Miracle-Gro.
Some of these dispensaries are trying to bump profits even higher by going upscale. As reported by Mandalit del Barco on National Public Radio, you can find high-end boutiquesâ€”or wellness clinicsâ€”where you can also pick up organic â€˜herbally enhancedâ€™ gelatos, whipped butter and other goodies.
One dispensary in particular, called The Farmacy, located near the UCLA campus, has its own special kitchen, where chefs create crispy treats and chocolate-covered pretzels with a little something extra, plus enhanced olive oil, and cannabis-infused lemonade. Everything in the store is organic, and it’s all available to anyone with a note from the doctor. The store even offers cannabis cooking classes.
Of course you can also find the traditional herbal brownies there, but The Farmacy also offers Kahlua cakes and biscotti. â€˜Nobody said medicine has to taste bad,â€™ The Farmacy’s hebalist Susan Leahy told NPR. â€˜We’re not here for people to get high,â€™ she explained. â€˜We here to offer medicine to alleviate pain, stress, tension. We have medicines that will help knock off nausea so people can enjoy their lives again.â€™
In addition to the special food creations, The Farmacy also offers amenities such as acupuncture, massage and Pilates.
There are now 13 states and the District of Columbia now allowing medical marijuana, and more upscale dispensaries like The Farmacy are likely to follow, if it proves to be a profitable model. Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economist quoted in the NPR story, says these marijuana boutiques are attempting to distance themselves from the image of back-alley pot dealers and head shops. They’re trying to look â€˜as legitimate, as middle class, as sort of Ã¢â‚¬Ëœnormal’ as possible,” he said.
California citizens will vote on legalizing marijuana this fall. If it passes, that doctor’s prescription will no longer be necessary. The whole nation will be closely following that election.
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