Researchers at UBC Okanagan say store front marijuana dispensaries should be allowed to continue in BC once recreational pot use becomes legal next year.
Associate psychology professor Zach Walsh says most of the 440 therapeutic users he and PhD candidate Rielle Capler spoke with prefer to buy from those outlets, rather than growing their own or buying from a dealer.
“Folks who are using dispensaries really seem to value the services the dispensaries are providing. They felt respected, they felt safe and they appreciated the quality and diversity of the product,” Walsh tells Kiss FM.
Walsh has concerns about using a liquor store type model like Ontario, saying it sends the wrong message to sell pot and liquor together.
“If we’re going to have distinct points of sale for cannabis I don’t see why it should be kept behind a locked shield, the way they do with tobacco products in a stand alone store. That’s going to make it hard to compete with the black market.
“On the other hand, if we provide people with a positive experience where they can select from diverse strains and products and examine it, and shop the way we shop for other things, I think we’ll have a much better chance of transitioning to a legal market.”
Walsh says the privately owned stores — which are currently operating illegally — have played a big role in changing the laws.
“We owe them a debt of gratitude. We wouldn’t be here at this point of legalization without the dispensaries, so it seems unfair to shut them out, and it’s not what’s best for customers.”
Walsh says the only negative about dispensaries was the cost of their products is often higher than from a street dealer.