Business name: FloraMedex, LLC
Location: Elmwood Park, Ill.
Number of stores: One
Date first store opened: April 2016
Manager: Jared Boyar, agent in charge
Number of employees: 6
Square footage: 5,200
Average number of patients per day: 25
Most important lesson learned so far: “I guess it’s just to treat people like people—be fair. That’s kind of our philosophy. If we get a discount from a cultivar, we’re going to pass that discount on to our patients… We want it to be a very patient-centric experience.” — Jared Boyar, agent in charge, FloraMedex, LLC
Jared Boyar, agent in charge at FloraMedex, LLC, knows first-hand the impact that state law can have on cannabis businesses.
In 2015, the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board made a recommendation to add 11 qualifying conditions to the Illinois medical marijuana test program. However, the state Department of Public Health rejected the recommendation, which would have allowed patients to use cannabis for chronic post-surgical pain, osteoarthritis, and other maladies, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Before making its recommendation, the state advisory board rejected three other conditions, including anxiety and diabetes, citing a lack of scientific evidence and health concerns, according to an article from the Associated Press.
FloraMedex is one of many Illinois dispensaries affected by the failure to expand the state’s list of qualifying conditions. “It’s impacted everyone’s business, at least in the state of Illinois,” Boyar said.
Despite these regulatory setbacks, the medical dispensary has managed to successfully sink roots in the Elmwood Park community. It draws about 25 patients per day on average and offers a robust selection of products, including wax, shatters, resins, rosins, flower and vape cartridges.
“We have everything that’s available in the Illinois market,” Boyar said.
When he first entered the cannabis industry two years ago, the biggest surprise was seeing “the low patient count,” he said.
The issue ties back to the limited number of medical conditions that qualify for cannabis treatment under state law. It’s a problem that still persists. A small percentage of current FloraMedex patients suffer from ailments that were rejected by state rulemaking agencies last year.
“They basically told us, ‘We qualify for this one condition, but we also have these other conditions, like migraines, and it works when we get migraines,”’ Boyar said.
He’s a strong supporter of expanding the number of qualifying ailments. In his view, this is one area where state regulatory agencies could improve. He believes the cannabis industry as a whole also has room for improvement, as well. Specifically, it should build a stronger lobbying arm to eliminate Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code, he said.
Regulatory and industry challenges aside, however, working in a dispensary also offers compelling rewards. The opportunity to help people lends enjoyment and purpose to Boyar’s work.
“People come into the dispensary, they’re in pain, they’re looking for relief. And they’re genuinely happy to be here, even though they’re in pain, because they’re going to be able to get that relief that they need,” he said. “I’ve never worked in another business quite like that in my life.
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