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Dispensary Profile: Botanicure, San Diego, CA

16 March 2010 News 11,129 views No CommentPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

On the day that Botanicure opened its doors in the Point Loma area of San Diego, local law enforcement officials were raiding dispensaries across the city. Although Botanicure was never targeted, with that kind of an opening day, it’s perhaps not surprising that the collective has kept things low key during its six months in operation, establishing about 350 members.  

The collective’s director, citing the legal activities, asked that his name not be used.

“We’d been open for about a half an hour (when the raids started), so you can imagine,” he says, adding that he would have welcomed any government officials had they come calling. He has nothing to hide, he claims. But as a patient himself, and as a professional with businesses outside of the cannabis industry, he says he would rather avoid the spotlight.

The collective’s waiting room features an Asian décor and plenty of natural light. Botanicure’s director said that the location, in a landscape of sprawling big box stores and strip malls, is fine for now, but wouldn’t have been his first choice. He had trouble finding landlords willing to rent to him, something he ascribed to San Diego’s legal climate. With no zoning guidelines for where a dispensary may and may not operate, many landlords are wary of running afoul of the law.

Botanicure’s selection of strains, about ten on the day a reporter visited, is relatively small in comparison to other collectives, but of notable quality. That might be because of the help of “Botanical Bill,”a quasi-partner who has brought growing expertise, and forthcoming cultivation classes, to bear on the collective’s supply of medicine.

Bill said the smaller selection seen in the collective is the result of complying with the letter of the law, stating that ventures that dispensaries with hundreds of strains may not be fully in line with California’s medical marijuana law, which requires all medicine to be produced within the collective.

Bill and the director said they hope to soon be producing the bulk of the collective’s supply themselves with low-cost grow operations. The price point at Botanicure is already quite low compared to others in the city, with grams costing as little as $8.

Finding good help has been a problem. The director said the collective had employed no fewer than four “bud-tenders” in the office, all of whom were fired for stealing. Closed circuit television cameras in the bud room are aimed at the employees, he said, not the customers.

The problem with employees also led Botanicure to take the unusual step of pre-packaging their medicine, calling it an inventory control measure. The result is a more professional looking product, but some customers object because they can’t see the bud actually weighed in front of them, as is the custom in most San Diego dispensaries.

Botanicure’s director said a few customers have second-guessed the system, but there’s an easy remedy.

“If they have a question about the weight, we just pop the top and weigh it for them. It’s not a big deal,” he says.

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