Richard Maloney and Chris Jeffery run WholesomeCo, a Medical Cannabis dispensary in Bountiful. Chris has a background in cannabis and served as the CEO of Leafly in 2017. Chris met Richard after a move to Seattle.
Chris and Richard are passionate about cannabis education. They believe that no one is an expert in cannabis because there is still so much to learn. They’re constantly testing and trying new ideas with the plant.
Richard likes the medical classification of cannabis. He sees cannabis as a way to improve well being and have a better way of life.
Richard is not against recreational cannabis use. He believes that anyone should safely be able to access this plant if they want to use it and that no one should be in prison for using cannabis.
Much of the difficulty has come with connecting dispensary point-of-sale systems to the state’s seed-to-sale tracking, MJ Freeway. The API integration for this system is not robust and makes it difficult for dispensaries to create an automated online ordering solution.
For example, WholesomeCo would like to have an online ordering platform for patients to be able to easily see a menu at their home, add products to a cart, and come to the store and pick up their product. However, the API system from the state makes it difficult to achieve this.
Chris and Richard do feel that Utah is on the right path and that the Department of Health has a great team behind them with the patient’s interest in mind. They believe that in one year we’ll be in a much better place.
During his time at Leafly, Richard had the chance to travel to a number of dispensaries around the country. This experience showed him how important the user experience is for dispensaries.
Walking into the WholesomeCo, there is a large curved wall and waiting area. The large waiting area is critical because of the lack of distribution of Medical Marijuana in the state.
Once inside the dispensary, you’ll see a cleanspace with a wood toned counter (think a mix of Apple and Starbucks) and a chalkboard that contains a menu of products. All of the products are laid out in the countertop where you can clearly see what is available.Four or five friendly people are behind the counter ready to help patients and answer questions.
WholesomeCo has a retail license and a cultivation license. Patients will start seeing the WholesomeCo products on shelves in about two weeks (at the time this podcast was recorded). They will then begin ramping cultivation efforts over the next four to six months to really expand their cultivation production, not only for the dispensary but also for the wholesale market as well. The team is currently deciding between two locations for their cultivation facility.
Richard would love for WholesomeCo to be the company that brings beverages to the Utah market. He believes that, from a dosing perspective, beverages are one of the best methods for a patient to consume cannabis because dosing is easier to manage. Also, he likes that you would not have to use a vaporizer to consume THC. He thinks the beverage market is going to be huge for cannabis.
The dispensary is focused on upholding a promise to improve the registration and purchase experience for WholesomeCo customers. This involves taking a digital, technology-first approach to building the dispensary. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped create urgency in achieving this mission, but the team has always believed in this direction.
Richard and Chris recommend patients register at WholesomeCo.com before visiting the dispensary. WholesomeCo then has to verify that this is a legitimate letter. This information will allow the team to set everything up so that, when the patient arrives, they get them straight into the shop. They ask that even cardholders register online before arriving to keep their records accurate.
The team at UtahMarijuana.org can work with the state and your Qualified Medical Provider and walk you through the process of getting your Medical Marijuana card. This will be a free service to Medical Marijuana patients. We understand how confusing the system can be and we want to ensure patients do not lose access to the medicine they need at the end of the year.
One of the biggest issues Tim sees is that only a small percentage of Qualified Medical Providers (QMPs) in the state understand the process of getting their patients’ cards. The few that do, including the team at UtahMarijuana.org, have worked to bring QMPs up-to-speed with the process.
The team at UtahMarijuana.org is committed to helping patients and QMPs during this process and, along with 1-to-1 training, will be adding more educational materials to the website to close this training gap for QMPs.
After December 31, 2020, no letters will be issued. When a patient sees their QMP and gets approved, they must register with the state and get their official Medical Cannabis Card before they will be able to buy their medicine. Tim feels like this will push QMPs to learn the process to help their patients.
Compared to some of the other markets that he has worked in, Richard believes that the community in Utah seems very willing to work together. In other states such as California or Oregon or Washington, everyone acts as a competitor. However, in Utah, he has experienced a more collaborative, team effort. Specifically, he credits Dragonfly Wellness for how helpful they have been.
WholesomeCo will be the first medical cannabis pharmacy in Utah to have a hash rosin product. They will have limited quantities (about 100 units available), so sales will be a first come first serve basis.
WholesomeCo will also be the first to carry PLUSH gummies, from Zion Pharmaceuticals, which will have a mix of delta-8 and delta-9 cannabinoids. They’ll also be carrying capsules, a product of Boojum and Tryke.