As long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law, dispensaries are at risk of being raided and shut down. As a result, many dispensaries avoid investing in their locations, to the detriment of their appearance and to some extent customer feelings of safety and convenience.
Two dispensaries on tribal land, however, have taken a step forward in customer convenience by allowing for drive-through service.
In Washington state, a dispensary named Joint Rivers is located on Muckleshoot tribal land in the town of Auburn, not far from the tribe’s casino. The dispensary sits between the Green and the White rivers. The drive-through will allow customers who are old, handicapped, or just in a hurry to buy marijuana products without leaving their cars. The tribe was able to expedite the application, permitting, and related processes as a sovereign nation. The drive-through window will work in the same way as at a fast-food establishment, with drivers making orders through an intercom before approaching the window. The tribe’s smoke shop not far away also has a drive-through window.
Similarly, the Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace sits on Paiute land in North Las Vegas, Nevada. It has a bulletproof drive-up window repurposed from a bank. Like a fast-food establishment, the dispensary plans to set a goal for the average amount of time it takes to fill an order, and it plans to use a fast-food-style intercom system to make the process go more smoothly. Customers who are willing to leave their cars and go inside the facility will be greeted with a large, well-appointed retail space.
But these two retail innovators are not alone. According to the Post Independent, a dispensary in Parachute, Colorado, has been credited as being the first to open a form of drive-through service. In order to comply with three regulations, however, the dispensary had to be a little creative. One requirement is that no one under the age of twenty-one is allowed on the premises, another is that marijuana not be visible from the street, and the third is that there must be video surveillance at the point of sale. The way the dispensary’s drive-through works is that cars are allowed to drive up to a window only after an age check of everyone in the car. Then two garage doors are lowered, which together with an outside wall block the transaction from public view. Security cameras handle the third requirement.
Another dispensary that offers a drive-through is All Greens Dispensary in Sun City, Arizona. In a town famous for the number of retirees who live there, it was a logical choice to offer customers service without requiring that they leave their vehicles. The appearance of the dispensary’s building suggests it was once a bank. Like the two dispensaries on tribal land, the window service is like that of a fast-food restaurant. Customers will need, however, to enter the store on their first visit to verify that they have a medical marijuana card. All Greens also has a delivery service.
What do you think? Will dispensaries have to become more like other retail spaces to stay in business? Leave a comment below.