Making multiple stops can make you late for a meeting or even miss an appointment. Because we're all looking for more convenience (and efficiency) wherever possible, more and more large chain stores, convenience stores and fast food restaurants are sharing land with or starting their own gas stations—to make things simpler for you and more lucrative for them. This same business model is being brought to life within the marijuana industry by Native Root’s Gas and Grass in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Native Roots is the largest chain medical marijuana dispensary in the state of Colorado with 12 dispensaries and two Gas and Grass locations that are set to open October 2015.
A New Way to Fuel Up
The cannabis movement in Colorado has always been highly innovative and this new business model is no exception. Gas and Grass has one thing in mind: convenience. More specifically, convenience for medical marijuana users. For those needing to pick up a marijuana prescription on-the-go, Gas and Grass offers a one-stop shop. However, this isn’t a pit stop for those who plan on walking in and asking for $30 of gas as well as an eighth of Northern Lights. The marijuana dispensary is separated from the gas station’s convenience store. This means that the pumps are open for anyone to use while the dispensary side of things will follow all rules and regulations that have been implemented by the state government. Along with this, recreational cannabis users will have to find somewhere else to pick up their usual supply.
Of course, with any marijuana innovation comes objection. One news outlet interviewed residents earlier this September and they seemed displeased with the idea of a gas station–dispensary hybrid. This doesn’t mean that these objectors are opposed to marijuana (or medicinal marijuana) entirely. Instead, it demonstrates dissatisfaction (or misunderstanding) with the normalization of cannabis. This normalization won’t occur by business owners opening up shop everywhere they deem necessary. Rather, marijuana advocates will need to engage with the public about why and how this is part of a progressive, beneficial movement. It’s this perception that needs to be shifted in Colorado now. The perception may be negative, but this might just mean that there's a misunderstanding or lack of knowledge. For example, many members of the public may not know that the two businesses are existing separately, much like many gas station/fast food combinations.
Is This Colorado’s Future?
Are Gas and Grass stations the future? Probably not. Gas and Grass will likely remain a novelty since there aren’t enough medicinal users to make this business model scalable. That said, this will definitely open the door to new, innovative ideas, helping the marijuana industry grow. While Colorado has legalized the herb, there is still a lot of progressive work to be done in relation to getting the public to accept marijuana outlets in their neighborhoods. Nevertheless, the creation of innovative businesses like Gas and Grass marks a big step towards the normalization and de-stigmatization of cannabis.
Colorado can be—and should be—home to radical cannabis-based innovation. By pushing the boundaries of traditional cannabis dispensing, businesses like Gas and Grass will continue to normalize the use of marijuana and its presence in mainstream culture.