Department supports drive-thru dispensaries to help Missouri’s patients
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation recent guidance letter clarified drive-thru services are not prohibited according to Article XIV and in fact, the Section “supports this option for better patient access.”
The letter says “revisions to the dispensary facility rule are being considered to better align them with this option.”
The Section expressed an interest in navigating the additional security procedures a dispensary would need to have in place in order to provide drive-thru services, as well as looking at the patient/staff ratio currently specified for limited access areas.
The idea of drive-thru services is appealing to those with busy schedules. Those on their lunch break or who need to run errands quickly can stay in their cars and continue to take calls or do other small tasks.
But perhaps the biggest advantage is extended to those with chronic conditions making ease of mobility almost non-existent.
According to a patient demographic Section Director Lyndall Fraker released at MoCannTrade’s BizCon back in March, those with “chronic conditions” make up the second-highest reason why people become patients in Missouri. A drive-thru service allows them to stay comfortably in their car to get their medicine. Those caregivers with young children or adults unable to be left unattended are also benefited. The idea isn’t too far off from the already existing practice of drive-thru pharmacies.
According to the New York Post, the first dispensary drive-thru opened in Colorado at the end of April in 2017. Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru takes drive-thru service to another level by providing drive-thru service only. The CEO of Tumbleweed told the New York Post, “You actually drive into the building. A door opens up and you drive the car into the building and then the door closes behind you, like in a Jiffy Lube. So in essence, you’re inside the dispensary, but in a vehicle.”
Smith says this almost loophole of a process allows their stores to comply with the cannabis laws in Colorado, which say cannabis retailers must conduct transactions in an existing store. The elimination of outdoor windows in a traditional drive-thru setting keeps the company in compliance.
A few other places have implemented drive-thru options that are fashioned more as a traditional drive-thru, but physically entering the dispensary still seems to be the norm for now.
The Section’s guidance letter says “pending the rule revisions, we will be open to dispensaries providing drive-thru facility designs, and any dispensary considering this option that did not initially propose that design should contact its licensing specialist to determine whether an application for a material change to the physical design will be necessary.”
Read the third guidance letter below.Guidance letter 3