Fear Factor: California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Less Suspicious of ‘Outsiders’

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Yesterday was frustrating and, in the end, somewhat futile, in large part because I’ve had email and technology problems as of late. But I did develop another impression of the medial marijuana industry in San Francisco and the rest of the state, for that matter. It seems dispensary owners and vendors are much less wary of “outsiders” than those in Denver and surrounding areas. By that I mean they aren’t as suspicious when I stop by asking to speak to them for a profile or future piece for our upcoming guidebooks and subscription site (more details on those later).

In Colorado, an unsolicited phone call or visit is often met with skepticism and I would even say a bit of fear. It seems to me that owners a) think you’re working undercover for the feds (I’m only half-joking on this one), b) don’t want their names in print in any fashion in case there’s a crackdown, c) are simply wary of reporters in general, or d) think you have ulterior motives. Or maybe it’s because our publication hasn’t started yet and therefore has no track record. Or it could be a mix of all the above.

In San Francisco, however, owners seem much more willing to give me the time of day. It hasn’t been a cakewalk to get interviews set up, to be sure. But owners have been more responsive in general. At least they call back. I bet it’s because the industry has been around a lot longer, while in Denver the sector is still new and no one knows what to think.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to today, as I’m visiting Oaksterdam University and then rushing over to meet well-known pot entrepreneur and advocate Steve DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center. The only problem is that I have to cross the bridge and enter Oakland, which is quickly becoming the murder capital of the United States according to one man I overheard talking yesterday. Wish me luck.

Chris Walsh is the editor of Medical Marijuana Business Daily