Can Capitalism Find High Times as California Embraces Pot?

It’s a spring afternoon on West Hollywood’s Santa Monica Boulevard and in-between a Russian grocery and a tattoo parlor, things are bustling at “Dr.” Dina Broward’s Alternative Herbal Health Services dispensary. A digital tote board touts the benefits of CBD in helping overcome withdrawal from opiate addiction, while a security guard straight out of “Disjointed,” the recently canceled Netflix show for which Dr. Dina served as cannabis consultant, learns that ex-pro football star Keyshawn Johnson is on his way. After getting her baptism in cannabis as a teenager from Snoop Dogg himself, Dr. Dina’s dispensary — one of the first in L.A. — has become a go-to location for the likes of rapper 2Chainz and producer  Timbaland, as well as Charlie Hunnam and fellow “Sons of Anarchy” cast members.

Broward’s retail store was one of only four in L.A. County licensed for “adult use” when legalization took hold in California on Jan. 1, opening to all comers the next day, with lines stretched down the street.

“There were people who just wanted to say they bought marijuana legally, that they’d been waiting all their lives for this moment,” Browner tells Variety.  “And that was the case whether you were 25 or 65.”


Just up the block, would-be franchise MedMen — alternately dubbed the Apple Store or Starbucks of retail weed — also welcomed the curious, offering dazzling in-store displays, with iPads identifying the various weed strains, housed in clear plastic that allow consumers to examine the buds through a magnifying glass and conduct their own sniff tests.

The company’s chief marketing officer B.J. Carretta, a veteran of Fender Guitar and NBC Sports, where he forged corporate branding and specialized in guerilla marketing for action events with Red Bull and Mountain Dew, insists MedMen’s goal is to “normalize and destigmatize the

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Region's second medical marijuana dispensary opens in Oxford

Cyrus Moulton Telegram & Gazette Staff @MoultonCyrus

OXFORD – The brand-new computers, minimalist modern decor and iPad check-in seem more akin to an Apple Store. But the security guard and the very slight sickly-sweet smell upon entering reveal the true nature of the new business on Main Street: It’s the region’s second marijuana dispensary and it celebrated its grand opening Wednesday.

“It’s surreal, to be honest,” Maura O’Brien, dispensary operations manager of Curaleaf, said of the opening at 425 Main St. “It’s amazing to work with the patients and be a part of their success … and it’s good timing that we’re here. It’s definitely an underserved area.”

Curaleaf operates a dispensary in Hanover and a state-of-the-art grow facility in Webster. It plans to open a third dispensary in Provincetown at the end of the summer. It opened its roughly 2,000-square-foot dispensary in Oxford on Saturday and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning.

The facility joins Cultivate Holdings Inc., in Leicester, as the only medical marijuana dispensaries in Central Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program.

It is not the typical business opening on Main Street.

First, it takes two forms of identification to get inside – a government-issued photo ID and a medical marijuana ID card – both checked by a security guard and a receptionist.

Patients are allotted 10 ounces of marijuana every 60 days (although most come to pick up only an eighth of an ounce or an ounce at a time, Ms. O’Brien said) and an employee ensures that the patient is eligible to pick up their allotment before letting them into the facility.

Then the facility becomes like a doctor’s office.

New patients fill out paperwork in a small waiting room, receiving information about cannabis, then proceed into a private consultation room,

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Erie medical marijuana dispensary opens

Rise Erie is the first medical marijuana dispensary in Erie County.

David Bruce @ETNBruce

Tim Smock drove 25 miles and waited outside in freezing weather for a half-hour Wednesday morning so he could buy medical marijuana to ease the debilitating pain of his multiple sclerosis.

He also spent about $600.

“My pain-management doctor recommended I try medical marijuana,” Smock said. “I have tried all sorts of pain medication and either they don’t work at all or they cause nasty side effects.”

Smock, a 40-year-old Albion man, was one of the initial customers at Rise Erie, Erie County’s first medical marijuana dispensary. The facility, located at 2108 W. Eighth St., opened for business Wednesday.

It marked the first time marijuana has been legally sold in Erie County. Rise Erie offers marijuana-based oils, vape cartridges, transdermal patches, gels and ointments to customers with medical marijuana identification cards provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. 

About a dozen potential customers, including Smock, were waiting outside when Rise Erie opened Wednesday at 9 a.m.

“We’re allowing only one person at a time into the lobby where they show their medical marijuana identification card,” said Tim Hawkins, market president of Pennsylvania for GTI LLC, the Chicago-based company that owns Rise Erie. “Once their ID is validated, they can head to our waiting area or meet with our pharmacist, and we let the next person inside.”

About 75 customers had visited Rise Erie during its first five hours of operation and another 25 showed up and asked how they can obtain a medical marijuana ID card. Application information is available on the state health department’s website,

Smock spent about two hours inside the dispensary, answering staff questions about the chronic pain he suffers from multiple sclerosis and learning about the different medical marijuana products.


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Surterra drops suit, will open medical pot dispensary Thursday

A medical marijuana dispensary will be allowed to open on Orange Avenue, south of downtown, after all.

Surterra has dropped a lawsuit it filed last month challenging Orlando’s medical cannabis ordinance. It will host a grand opening Thursday at 2 p.m. at its store near Orlando Health.

It will join Knox Cannabis Dispensary on Orange Avenue south of Princeton Street and Trulieve Orlando on Orange Blossom Trail at Lee Road as dispensaries within city limits.

“[The store] is already in the medical district and it’s on the opposite side of the city from our two competitors,” said Surterra vice president Nick Monette. “Being centrally located, Orlando is definitely a place we do a lot of deliveries.”

Orlando planning official Dean Grandin Jr. sent Monette a letter last week giving the company a green light to open. The memo transferred the city’s approval for a dispensary at 2445 Edgewater Drive to 1743 S. Orange Ave.

The lawsuit was filed in Orange Circuit Court and asked for a judge to rule Orlando’s law as “invalid and unenforceable,” after the city decided Surterra couldn’t open its center on Orange Avenue because of its proximity to the residential neighborhood.

Under Florida law, local governments were allowed to either ban medical cannabis centers or could approve them, but regulate them no stricter than pharmacies.

However, Orlando passed its rules before state legislators approved their own in June 2017 and believed its ordinance would be grandfathered in.

The city law prohibits centers within 200 feet of a residential zoning district, 1,000 feet of a religious facility, school, park or within a mile of another medical cannabis facility.

But now with an approval in hand, Surterra is looking forward to its grand opening where it will have cannabis vaporizer pens, oils, patches and sprays on display.

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The area's first medical marijuana dispensary is open for business

A line of people stood outside Erie’s first medical marijuana dispensary, hoping that the products inside can help ease their pain.

‘Rise’ opened its doors at 9am this morning.  Each person at the dispensary qualified for a medical marijuana card by being diagnosed with one of the 17 qualifying conditions.  That information is sent to the state, and a card will be sent to the patient that allows them to legally purchase marijuana for medical purposes. 

The product is only sold in oils and vapes. 

Marketing President for Green Thumb Industries, the company that owns Rise, says,  “Hopefully, it will provide relief in some form, but it’s not for everybody. If someone does not choose to use medical marijuana, we’re fine with that.”

There are 12 cultivation centers in Pennsylvania where the processing takes place.

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