Were medical dispensaries in California targeting recreational marijuana users?

Four medical marijuana dispensaries in California were the target of a new research study which found that those dispensaries targeted recreational users, to which they also sold products.

Ever since medical cannabis was first legalized in California there were doubts about whether the dispensaries will sell weed to their recreational customers and those just looking for an easy way to get weed.

In time, people realized that it is not in the best interest of dispensaries to do so and such doubts slowly sank. But did the illegal sales to recreational users ever take place?

Munchies made me do it

A study conducted by the University of California, in collaboration with a professor of social work at The Ohio State University, which appears in the journal Substance Use & Misuse, claims that dispensaries have sold cannabis to recreational users.

“There are only so many potential medical marijuana users out there. At some point some of these businesses get creative and try to find ways to build their business,” said Bridget Freisthler, co-author of the study.

It seems that whatever marketing campaign they had going really worked for them, as researchers found people coming to these dispensaries from as far as 6 miles away from the location.

This is not the usual migration pattern for standard pharmacies as most of their customers are usually from the immediate surroundings , either living, working there or simply walking past in need of a pharmacy.

However, that is not the case with these dispensaries as their customers came from ‘far away’ destinations, on several occasions even from across the town.

The researchers found that customers visiting these dispensaries usually had a product in mind when visiting the dispensary, such as a very distinctive snack mix of cereals, chips, hard bread sticks, pretzels and other ingredients that were baked with cannabis-infused butter.

“Many of the people interviewed said they went to that particular dispensary just for that product,” Freisthler said.

Freisthler and her co-authors found that one of the four outlets had patients significantly younger than the mean, and three of the four had more male customers than expected and a different mix of race and ethnicity.

“If the customers were truly coming for medical purposes, they should be older than the study found”, she said. “The average age of customers was 28-32.”

This study was conducted as a sort of a prequel for a larger research project which will examine the customers of 16 dispensaries in Los Angeles, but to which extent?

Recreational marijuana was already legalized in California several weeks ago and keeping these dispensaries separate seems to beat the point.

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