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Tips for Opening a Dispensary Where Nobody Wants You

by Hasum | | | 0 Comments


Stigmas linked to marijuana and racial narratives concerning its use are some of the issues you’ll face when opening a dispensary. As a cannabis vendor, consider your role as an emissary of the cannabis industry. You need to educate the community members on how marijuana can benefit them. For example, you can tell them how your cannabis strain can help people deal with anxiety, depression, and chronic pain problems. 

Members who object to cannabis use will most likely raise concerns about increased misdemeanor cases, increased number of stoned youths, and plunging property values. Luckily, you can use research findings on these topics in your favor. 

  •    Crime Concerns: According to a report titled “Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Not Linked to Neighborhood Crime,” evidence suggests that weed businesses do not contribute to more neighborhood crime compared to other businesses. Also, a 2014 Cato Institute research of cannabis policy shifts in Colorado noted no significant change in aggravated assault, murder, burglary, or robbery in Denver following the full legalization of cannabis. 
  •    Youth Usage Concerns: According to a study in The Lancet Psychiatry in June 2015, medical cannabis programs don’t contribute to an upsurge in teen usage. 
  •    Public Health Fears: Findings published in a research article reveal that yearly deaths and health complications arising from prescription drug overdoses are 25 percent lower in states that have legalized medical cannabis use. The reason is that people opted for marijuana use in legal states as an alternative to prescriptions and other painkillers.
  •    Property Value Concerns: The legalization of marijuana often causes the prices of commercial and residential properties in that area to actually go up. This is because cannabis growers typically opt to buy vacant warehouses located in industrial areas. On the other hand, marijuana dispensaries prefer to buy or lease unoccupied storefronts in commercial districts, as per findings published in an article titled “The Budding Impact of Marijuana on Real Estate.”

Community Outreach

Community Outreach

Some people view the cannabis industry as a monster that attempts to capitalize on the recklessness and innocence of the youth. To deal with this stigma, marijuana dispensary owners need to be community-conscious by adopting community outreach programs. 

When done correctly, community outreach programs can garner positive rewards for your dispensary. These include better relationships with community members and local authorities. You can also gain a loyal customer base. Here are three local outreach programs to consider:

Food Drive

You can give back to the community by donating meals to the disadvantaged. For every weed product sold, you can contribute a percentage to local food banks. This is a great marketing ploy. Consumers will be spurred by the knowledge that a portion of their monies will help vulnerable families in the community. And it’s not just food. It can include everything from books to shoes. Such initiatives show that your dispensary cares for the greater good of the community. 

Blood Drive

Why not speak with your local Red Cross office about conducting an on-site blood drive at your dispensary? Not only will the presence of the Red Cross bring attention to your dispensary, but it will also prove that the blood of weed users is healthy for donation and dispel any beliefs to the contrary.

Beautification Projects

Take part in programs to keep your neighborhood free from debris and litter. You can also take part in tree planting, painting a mural, or setting up a community garden. 

While it may sound strange, you can expect some organizations to decline charity from businesses that sell cannabis. But the good news is that stories about your philanthropic activities will help cast away the negative stereotypes and substitute the disgrace associated with the weed plant with goodwill. After all, people typically stand with businesses that support them.

Invite Influencers on Launch Day

Invite Influencers on Launch Day

It’s crucial to make a huge statement during your grand opening. It should involve a lot more than just giving out pastries and coffee. After all, you have only one chance to make a positive impression. 

So, invite a top influencer to come to your cannabis retail store. The influencer can be someone famous in that given community or a trending social media sensation. Influencers typically have a huge following and sway in the court of public opinion. So, you want to tap into their influence in the community. 

Of course, you’ll need to advertise that the influencer is scheduled to show up at the grand opening of your dispensary. Spread the word by advertising in the local papers, sending out flyers, or updating your social media handles. When the celebrity influencer makes an appearance, they can mingle with fans, sign autographs, and even pose for photos. Meanwhile, your budtenders will be educating the customers on the different medical weed products available.

The Bottom Line

It’s strange how some communities have no problem with liquor outlets and tobacco smoke stores around their neighborhood and yet consider marijuana a dangerous menace. Of course, these notions are rooted in historical misconceptions. And for anyone who wants to set up a dispensary in such a community, they might have to work harder to achieve their dreams.

The good news is that tons of research link marijuana to health benefits, such as relief from anxiety and chronic pain. You can leverage these benefits to set up a marijuana dispensary and make inroads in a community laden with negative stereotypes about cannabis use.

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