What is a Dispensary?
The legalisation of medical and recreational cannabis in many regions of the globe can account for the steady rise in dispensaries. Dispensaries are an essential part of the chain of distribution for legal cannabis products.
Cannabis dispensaries are licensed stores which sell cannabis to patients or consumers in a legal, secure setting. These dispensaries can either be physical or online stores and are regulated by the state in which they are registered. Dispensaries often sell a wide array of cannabis and cannabis-related paraphernalia including:
- Cannabis flower
- Cannabis seeds
There are two major kinds of cannabis dispensaries, namely medical dispensaries and recreational dispensaries. Medical dispensaries sell cannabis products in a pharmaceutical setting, and cater to solely patients who have been legally prescribed medical marijuana. Recreational dispensaries are set up like retail shops and cater to recreational cannabis consumers. Certain dispensaries cater to both recreational and medical consumers.
Cannabis dispensaries can also be referred to as cannabis stores, adult-use stores (particularly recreational stores) and cannabis pharmacies (particularly medical stores).
Marijuana dispensaries can operate as physical stores or online platforms, or sometimes both.
Where Can Marijuana Dispensaries be found in Australia?
Cannabis for medical purposes was legalised in Australia on the 30th of October, 2016. Following the legalisation of cannabis, the Australian medical marijuana industry has experienced unprecedented growth.
There are over 20 operational medical cannabis companies on the Australian Cannabis stock market (ASX) and more than 1,000 citizens receiving medical cannabis. While the industry is still in its infancy, compared to the United States of America and Canada, the Australian market is expected to grow to $1.2 billion by 2024. These projections were made by Prohibition Partners and reported by SBS news.
Despite medical marijuana being legalised three years ago, access to cannabis products is still heavily restricted within the nation. Medical cannabis can be accessed from a number of medical marijuana dispensaries such as;
All these dispensaries offer online screening appointments to determine whether prospective patients meet the requirements to qualify for a medical marijuana prescription. Each dispensary has pharmacies in various regions such as Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales. Prospective patients can also access their services via their online platforms.
Under What Conditions Could You Use A Cannabis Dispensary Legally?
To access a legal cannabis dispensary in Australia, the customer must be a registered medical marijuana patient. In order to access medical marijuana within Australia, patients must fall under at least one of three categories as provided in the Therapeutic Goods Act (TGA) under the Special Acts Scheme. The following categories are;
- Category A – A Patient Notified as Seriously Ill
- Category B – An Application Pathway (Which must be approved by the TGA)
- Category C – Notification of Use of Specified Therapeutic Goods
Potential patients can also gain access to medical marijuana through online applications submitted at the Special Access Scheme website.
Why Use a Marijuana Dispensary?
There are several reasons as to why medical marijuana patients and recreational consumers utilise marijuana dispensaries.
Online dispensaries offer cannabis patients and consumers a wide variety of advantages. Some of these advantages include:
- High levels of privacy
- Access to knowledgeable cannabis professionals
- Ease of access to legal cannabis of proven quality and strength
- Wide varieties of cannabis products
How Do Australians Feel About Medicinal Marijuana?
In recent times, polls have shown that the vast majority of Australians support the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. A survey conducted by the National Drug Strategy Household Survey found that 84.4% of Australians fully supported the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Despite the overwhelming support of Australians in every state and territory for medical marijuana, it is still very hard to obtain. Many patients are subjected to long wait times and heavily bureaucratic policies in order to be granted access to medical marijuana licenses.
As of April 2018, only 525 people had been registered under the Special Access Scheme. This is nowhere near the amount of citizens who need medical marijuana for the treatment of various ailments. A massive number of these patients have turned to illegal dealers to obtain the product.
In order to ease the burden on patients, the Special Access Scheme introduced a website in which prospective patients can now submit their medical marijuana applications online.
Australian Marijuana Dispensaries
Marijuana dispensaries are physical or online stores which provide cannabis and cannabis-based products for purchase to medical marijuana patients and in some cases, recreational consumers. There are several cannabis dispensaries across the country, in most major cities such as Perth and Sydney.
Cannabis is only legal within Australia for medical use, and under specific medical conditions. The substance is still heavily regulated with access requiring a nationally approved medical marijuana license. Access to medical marijuana is a somewhat difficult process as only a few patients currently have access to the substance. While cannabis dispensaries exist in Australia and are the safest way for Australians to access legal, quality-controlled cannabis products, in reality only a very few people can make use of them.