The Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP) just turned 3. Abraham Villegas is a long time moderator of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Community Facebook page. His recent efforts have been instrumental in turning this group into an amazing resource with almost 15,000 members. He posed this question to the members of the group which include new and returning patients, dispensary owners, patient care specialists, growers, doctors, members of cannabis advisory groups and cannabis reform groups.
What Improvements To Illinois Dispensaries Would You Like To See?
Patients were not shy in suggesting changes that would improve their patient experiences at dispensaries. In the case of recycling the containers, the current law would not allow these changes, but the suggestions were valid requests that would be beneficial to the environment.
Many, many, many people suggested lowering the prices of the products. Let’s hope that the influx of patients from the passage of SB 336, the Opioids Bill, will add thousands to the patient rolls. This will significantly increase demand for more products and should cause a reduction in prices.
Some of the dozens of other suggestions included the following:
- More female employees who would be much better suited to helping other women find strains/products for menstrual and gynecological problems
- More black, brown, women and non-binary dispensary staff to reflect the patient population
- Online Menus which are more comprehensive, accurate and descriptive. It was suggested that cultivators list each strain and product in a database that would be linked to dispensaries. Currently, some dispensaries only list the THC/CBD percentages. More information on terpenes and several of the other cannabinoids
- Online Ordering with a confirmation to make sure your products are available when you arrive. Your order would be held for a specific period of time. Many patients are forced to drive long distances to get to their dispensaries. There is nothing worse than spending the entire day getting there and back only to discover that your preferred products are not available.
- More dispensaries in the southern part of the state
- Private Rooms for those with brain injuries and sensory problems. Many patients find the background music and visual stimuli of the dispensary to be overwhelming.
- Check Out Stall with a Chair for those with balance problems
- Seating Arrangements for those who are unable to stand for long periods
- Tour of the Dispensary
- Environmentally friendly packaging; get rid of single use plastic containers and bags. Replace plastic bags with paper, hemp or reusable bags. Give patients a small discount if they bring their own bags.
- Recycling Program for containers. Patients receive a free product in exchange for a set number of containers.
- Actual displays where patients can see the products they are purchasing
- More staff so that there are additional people available for education, demonstrations and events. In some cases, patient care specialists need to be more educated about the medicinal benefits of the products rather than just pushing strains that have high THC content.
- Certified Health Educators
- Answer emails from patients in a timely fashion
- Use of ATMs and debit cards
- Loyalty Program along with bulk sales, special offers and freebies with purchases
- Ability for patients to request special orders; specific strains that are only available a few times of the year pose a problem for patients who depend on these strains.
- Accommodating a new patient requiring an extended period of assistance; providing an additional staff member for that purpose so that returning patients do not have to wait for long periods because the dispensary is very busy and understaffed.
- “Express Lane” for those patients who have pre-ordered or who know what products they want. During busy times, it is frustrating for these patients to have to wait long periods while patients who require assistance choosing their products are being served.
- Delivery Services
- Bigger selection of products
- Price Matching
- Removing old product from shelves and discounting it to patients before it loses its potency and cannabinoid/terpene ratio.
- Online Lab Reports with the potency of cannabinoids, terpene content and an explanation of the procedures used during cultivation/processing.
- A formal, comprehensive and standardized handbook for all Illinois dispensaries.
Feel free to leave any additional suggestions you have to improve the workings of our Illinois dispensaries!