Dispensary Laws: The Future of Cannabis

Medical marijuana and various paraphernalia. Photo/Emmanuel Vargas.

Medical marijuana and various paraphernalia. Photo/Emmanuel Vargas.

Since Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana in 2012 and enactment in January 2014, the Schedule I drug, cannabis, raked in just over a billion dollars in revenue last year.

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Schedule I drugs are classified as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Within this category are heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) and cannabis. Because it has been widely refuted, California will soon add marijuana to the list of legal recreational use beginning 2018.

Proposition 64, which California passed in November 2016, ruled that the following day it was legal within state law to use and grow up to 6 plants of marijuana per household. Beginning in 2018, the proposition will allow for the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana use, with regulations set by the state, according to Ballotpedia.org.

Regulations including the purchase and use of cannabis, are strictly forbidden to any person under the age of 21. Much like alcohol, driving under the influence of marijuana still qualifies as a DUI, and sales within the black market can still be considered illegal.

Cannabis products and plants can be legally gifted if the individuals are of age, but if an exchange of US currency takes place it is considered a drug deal. This has created a large community of marijuana users and producers who barter and gift the plant within the loopholes of the proposition. This has resulted in the startup of cannabis dispensaries in local communities.

Most workers in the industry are considered “volunteers” and are asked to help whenever they please, according to Dulce a local member who chose to remain anonymous. “Compensation is not required, although tips are accepted by patients,” she explained.

Abiding by the state and federal laws, gifts are passed through the establishments, which is founded upon gifting and donations. No black market transactions are processed. Dulce also explained that volunteering is “much like being a barista or a cashier in the sense that there is a customer service standard that must be upheld, along with maintaining a clean and compliant establishment.”

When asked about her views on marijuana, Dulce stated, “Marijuana is great, whether it be medicinal or recreational. It’s positive in the way that it lets people just relax and have fun, but can be negative to those who are irresponsible.” Recreational cannabis in California is dawning and modeling its proposition after the success of states like Washington and Colorado.