Chris Walsh: Spend Your Days Smoking Weed, Playing Video Games! Myths About MMJ

I’m back today with the third installment of my series exploring stereotypes that the general public has about dispensaries, vendors and the medical cannabis industry in general. So far, I’ve shattered the perception that everyone is making a ton of money and I’ve discredited the notion that dispensary owners are nothing but potheads.

Now, I bring you…

Myth No. 3: Working at a dispensary is one big party

I’ve heard a few acquaintances talk either enviously or dismissively about medical marijuana jobs. Some people think working at a dispensary would be really cool, while others think it’s an industry of slackers.

Either way, these people have the same perception of the work: You pretty much get to hang out all day, perhaps light up a few times or gobble up a pot brownie for lunch to ease your “pain” and then spend the afternoon battle your colleagues in a few rounds of Halo.

Honestly, this is what some people think working at a dispensary is like. You can stop laughing now.

Don’t take my word for it: I’ve had two owners tell me they initially hired friends on staff who had that perception of the corporate culture. Needless to say, those friends are no longer working at the dispensaries, as they bailed – or were let go – once the reality set in.

And what is that reality? I’m sure you know it all too well. Running a medical pot dispensary is no walk in the park in most cases. Owners work long hours – just as long as entrepreneurs in other fields, as far as I can tell. Which can mean 12-hour days and weekend work. Other staff – from budtenders to receptionists – are busy doing their jobs as well. I’ve yet to walk into a dispensary and see employees just hanging out. That’s more likely at a Wal-Mart than a medical marijuana center. And, in Colorado at least, employees are not allowed to medicate at work, and everyone I’ve encountered has seemed pretty clear-eye to me.

Granted, the office culture is a bit more laid back than, say, working at a bank. Actually, it’s a lot more laid back. Jeans and t-shirts are the norm, and you’ll surely see workers clad in sandals and shorts as well.

Some dispensaries also are a bit more lively than the average company, cranking up the background music a bit. And the corporate culture runs the gamut, from centers that have more of a professional, clinical feel to dispensaries that take more of a soothing, holistic approach to those that make you feel as if you’re chillin’ at someone’s house. At the same time, some dispensaries do in fact hold video game nights for patients, and perhaps a worker grabs a controller at some point as well. And you can bet that some workers sneak in a smoke or down an edible while on the clock from time to time, though that probably happens in other professions as well.

But, in general, working at a medical marijuana facility is not one big party. It’s work. I’d compare it to, say, a candy shop. Sure, the employees are tempted by what’s around them. And they might indulge in samples from time to time. But they’re not prancing around the store giddily throwing handfuls of jelly beans into the air and lobbing Raisinettes into each others’ mouths. They’re working. Same goes for the medical marijuana industry.

That seems obvious to everyone working at a dispensary. I hope it’s now a little more clear to those on the outside looking in.

Chris Walsh is the editor of Medical Marijuana Business Daily