CARMEL, Calif. - If you were to walk in to Big Sur Canna Botanicals in Carmel-By-The-Sea, you very well might think you just stepped into a nicely decorated living room. Co-owner, Aram Stoney said that’s the point of this medical marijuana dispensary.
“It’s organic, it’s comfortable and that’s how we want people to feel when they come in. You come in and are greeted with a smile. Not feeling like you’ve done something wrong,” said Stoney.
A week ahead of their grand opening, the owners are looking to change the perception of how people view dispensaries. The business has actually been up and running for three years but only as a delivery service. They said their new store front location will allow them to better treat and educate patients. At least 75 percent of their clients are baby boomers or even older.
“We had someone come in the other day that was 91 years old. A lot of them are coming in to a dispensary for the first time. It’s great to see their reaction, see their overwhelming relief that it’s not what they thought,” said Stoney.
Stoney, a long-time Monterey County native, knew security was important to his neighbors so he has 23 cameras in his 2,200 square foot. shop. He also has at least one security guard on-site 20 hours a day.
The owners told KION they’ve had a great response from the community and their neighbors at Carmel Rancho Square but patients still often deal with the stigma associated with cannabis.
Denise, a cannabis patient who didn't want to appear on camera said “I would actually like to show my face in this but I can’t because of this huge stigma. Someone who knows me found out I was using it and no longer speaks to me.”
Denise has battled several different illnesses over the years, including cancer. She said the typically prescribed pain pills are not what she’s interested in.
“I started out with the medical world of pharmaceuticals, then I realized not only can you become seriously addicted but the way my body reacted was extremely adverse,” said Denise.
Though long-term research is limited, Denise said her quality of life is greatly improved, and her pain relieved, when she uses cannabis.
“It’s more than a doctor’s office, it’s a healing place,” said Denise.
As far as recreational cannabis is concerned, Stoney said they are just focusing on medical for now, at least until Monterey County approves new regulations.