Perhaps the most profitable and well-ran dispensary in existence is the Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CA, which after taxes reported over $22 million in sales in 2010. When a cannabis store caters to its patients and takes compassion in its work, a great service is done and enormous profits can also follow.
But it is much more than just a cannabis store, it is a complete wellness center and that is why they have had so much success and have been able to be as publicized as they are.
To illustrate this in further detail, we will look at this specific dispensary as a model to follow. First we will talk about its operator, Steve Deangelo.
Mr. Deangelo has spent his entire career at the intersection of cannabis activism and entrepreneurship as a dynamic leader. As CEO of Harborside Health Center, Steve co-founded and operated the nation’s most widely acclaimed cannabis store dispensary– and set a new standard of excellence and a model to follow for the entire movement and industry.
Steve’s accomplishments as an activist include the passage of Prop 59, the medical cannabis initiative of Washington DC; and organizing world famous 4th of July demonstrations at the White House. Steve graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, is a charter member of ASA, a lifetime member of NORML; and speaks and authors widely about cannabis.
Steve’s other accomplishments within the medical marijuana movement include launching the industry’s first lab testing service which can detect the medical composition of marijuana by testing its THC content and cannabinoids, developing the legendary Shiva brand of consumer products, and organizing several large gardens for dispensaries of his. Steve also spent his time in the 90’s as founder and CEO of Ecolution, Inc., a pioneer in the production of industrial hemp products that sold to retailers in each of the 50 states, and also within 21 foreign countries.
His success stems to his wellness center being much more than just a dispensary. It offers classes and services that include free Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Hypnotherapy, Naturopathy, Reiki, Yoga, Herbalism, Alexander Technique and Substance Use and Misuse Clinical Services and sessions. The goal is to encourage engagement of the mind-body-soul nexus in the healing process. There’s even lessons on how to grow your own medicine every week. All of their distributed medical marijuana medicine is lab tested for safety and potency.
His dispensary includes a patient activist resource center that encourages active participation in the political and social agenda and promotion of the medical cannabis movement. To encourage patient participation, his dispensary even gives free medicine every week patients volunteer an hour to work on activism in the facility.
There are also weekly care packages available to patients who cannot afford their medicine. To qualify, proof of the financial situation such as a copy of the patient’s SSI letter or some other official documentation of their current income level is needed.
While patients are waiting, a complete reading library with scores of books about medical cannabis can be read. Harborside also offer patients a rewards card program to give back to their regular and dedicated patients. There is no enrollment or subscription fee for this.
Even the mission statement of Harborside Health Center comes down to compassion. It is their goal to ensure that every single patient that comes through their doors feel truly cared for, valued and respected. Protecting the safety, tranquility, and cleanliness of the immediate neighborhood and creating an extraordinary environment of medical care, honesty, and friendliness that is felt by all patients is top priority.
Now you don’t have to be a Stephen Deangelo to have the widespread success he has had. In fact, he goes on record saying that the average marijuana dispensary operator brings in $3-4 million per year, even without doing as much as his wellness center does. Even though a high percentage of that money is taxed, that’s not a bad payday when everything is said and done. In addition, you’ve also got to help a lot of people who need safe and legal access to medicine and have done the community a much needed social service.
If you can be much more than just a cannabis store when you open a dispensary, profits can skyrocket several hundred percent, benefits to the community can be achieved and a favorable and welcome image will be the perception and reality. When you start a dispensary, think of Harborside.
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