Licensed medical marijuana patients are now able to order prescriptions online and pick them up at Mana Supply Co. in Edgewater without coming in direct contact with store staff. Patients can order their prescriptions on the company's website, or via apps like Weedmaps, then drive to the dispensary, where their medical marijuana cards are verified via video intercom.
Once the patient's card is verified, they're allowed to pull into the drive-thru. After a garage door closes behind the car for security purposes, patients consult with staff over another video intercom. The patient then places their ID and cash payment into a sanitized drawer, and will receive their ID back along with their purchase, enabling the customers to remain physically separate from the store's employees.
“The drive-through is literally the perfect solution to everything,” said Mana customer Yony Cruz to the Washington Post. “They’re keeping the workers safe, they’re keeping everything on the inside more sanitary because there’s less volume of people inside, and everyone is getting their medicine.”
Mana Supply owners Christopher Jensen and Matt Volz had the drive-thru in mind when they decided to rent a former bank to host their new dispensary. Last summer, the owners spent $100,000 on secure garage doors, high-resolution cameras, and an intercom system to make the drive-thru operational. But despite the investment, state regulations prevented Mana from actually selling weed via their drive-thru. Until now.
On March 16, Governor Larry Hogan mandated quarantine measures to slow the spread of coronavirus. Like most states, Hogan declared that medical cannabis businesses are essential services, allowing them to remain open while forcing most other businesses to close. Dispensaries are required to implement social distancing regulations, however, and most retailers are using curbside pickup to comply with these rules.
The new essential services regulations gave Mana the green light to begin conducting transactions with their drive-thru. In the first three weeks since opening this new service, Mana saw a 35 percent increase in sales. Now, over 100 cars visit the location every day. Another dispensary, Health for Life Baltimore in Dundalk, was also able to open a drive-thru following these regulations.
Jensen told the Post that many customers are stocking up on medical cannabis to help them deal with anxieties related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “People are dealing with a lot of anxiety right now,” he said. “We’re all stuck at home, some people have compromised immune systems, there’s anxiety about the next paycheck and going back to work.”