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The Dispensary Finder Dilemma; They Just Do Not Work All That Well

How Can Consumers reasonably Find Marijuana?

If anyone in today’s day-in-age needs to find information, locations or entertainment they search for it online, including marijuana. We now live in a fully integrated world, albeit those integrations change frequently, but the network is in place. Marijuana legalization is rather interesting from a technological perspective because it is an ancient plant originating from before the existence of people, but in the short amount of time that society has existed within a technological network, marijuana has been frozen in time by prohibition. This would be why when a potential cannabis consumer searches for weed on a dispensary finder, they become frustrated.

It is not hard to find a dispensary finder. There is:

  • thcfinder.com
  • wheresweed.com
  • leafly.com
  • weedmaps.com
  • massroots.com,
  • Google even has its own dispensary finder now.

Setting up an online locator for marijuana is as much a part of the green rush as every other sector of the cannabis industry. In order for any form of a search engine to work effectively for its users, there needs to be some sort of consistency of credible sources which is lacking in the cannabis industry. Here are the reasons why using a dispensary finder is so challenging.

First reason: State laws seem to be in constant flux concerning marijuana. This goes back to the cannabis prohibition issue. Since marijuana legalization is brand new, one moment a state has legalized medical marijuana and the next moment they have legalized recreational marijuana. States have to create rules around whatever marijuana program they have and residents need to wait and see what lawmakers come up with. If advocates do not think lawmakers have created rules that honored what the people voted for, the state gets sued and the laws may change. Medical marijuana laws can get expanded allowing for more patients and more dispensaries. Licenses need to be issued to potential dispensaries, patients need to be registered, advertising laws need to be created, whether flower will be sold or whether edibles can look like animals are all in constant flux. All of these challenges make updating a dispensary locator ultimately too much work and therefore ineffective.

Here is another reason. A dispensary that is trying to operate in an advanced technological world with a product that an economy does not understand well is is super challenging. The commodity markets have obviously been around a lot longer than the stock market, but commodities are known for having very volatile price fluctuations. Each agricultural commodity thrives better in different environments and has to contend with the unique local weather patterns that disrupt the supply chain dramatically at times. The growing cycle of corn, wheat, soybeans, sugar, etc., have all been studied to the nth degree, but nothing has been discovered to really stabilize their price. The amount of time spent rigorously studying the growth cycle of cannabis is tiny relative to other agricultural markets. The end result is that a dispensary has little to no idea what strain of marijuana they will have available to consumers from day-to-day and keeping a dispensary finder updated is nearly impossible. Perhaps cannabis consumers are accustomed to never knowing what they are going to get next, for now.

The end result is rather interesting. People are calling dispensaries over the phone instead of using a dispensary finder. If a consumer wants to know if the dispensary has any cannabis in stock, or a particular strain of marijuana, calling is really the only way to know. Instead of technology bring marijuana into the fold, in some ways marijuana is pulling us back in time.

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Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe is a 14-year veteran of the financial sector with licenses as a commodity broker (Series 3) and investment advisor representative (IAR Series 65). Along with a focus on raising capital for the firms he was employed with, he also wrote and edited much of the content published by them. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization due to the social injustices associated with marijuana prohibition and the strong potential for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

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