Taos, New Mexico
There seems to be a perception among people who disapprove of the medical marijuana industry that the industry operates completely separate of the law. These people believe that medical marijuana dispensaries misreport their income, that they sell marijuana to minors, and that they sell their products to people regardless of whether or not they have a medical marijuana card from a doctor. Essentially, these people believe that the medical marijuana industry in the US operates outside the law, with little to no regulation taking place.
The reality of the situation is that nothing could be further from the truth. When an individual or business opens up a medical marijuana dispensary, they do so with an understanding that the state they’re operating in is going to heavily regulate them. What does this regulation look like? It starts with the dispensary having to apply for a license to sell medical marijuana in the state. This means filling out a large amount of paperwork where the operator of the dispensary agrees to operate their business under the rules, guidelines, and laws governing medical marijuana in the state. They have to agree to report all of the marijuana that they purchase, and that marijuana has to come from growers who are also registered with the state. They have to report how much they’re buying, what they’re paying for it, and who they’re buying it from, and they have to do this every single time they purchase medical marijuana for their dispensary.
Next, they have to agree to only sell marijuana to individuals who have a medical marijuana card. These cards must be issued by doctors, and those doctors must have a valid reason for issuing someone a card. They can’t just give a card to someone because that individual wants to consume medical marijuana. Rather, that individual has to present certain symptoms and medical conditions that make it apparent to the doctor during their examination that the individual could truly benefit from medical marijuana. At this point, the doctor will issue the card, and then the individual must present that card, along with their ID, to the dispensary. The dispensary will enter their information into the state system, and then they can sell them medical marijuana. Thus, the state has a record of every sale, including who it was to, how much they purchased, and what price they paid.
The medical cannabis dispensary must also agree never to sell medical marijuana to anyone under the age of 21, and they must also report all of their sales to the state government. At the end of the year, they have to file their taxes and include all of the necessary information, such as what their business expenses were, what their gross sales were, and what profit they’re reporting. From there, they pay the state government what they owe in taxes.
As you can see, medical marijuana dispensaries like DiamondTREE are heavily regulated by the states they operate in. It’s certainly not the free-for-all that some marijuana opponents would have you believe. Rather, the industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the country, and if a dispensary slips up, they could lose their license to operate in the state.