Story By: Tim Lavigne, Meteorologist and Reporter
YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - Jamestown Center is Yuma's first medical marijuana dispensary. It's located on Avenue 4E and 32nd st far away from local churches, businesses and schools.
"I would say that running a dispensary in Arizona is the same as running a pharmacy in Arizona" Susan Huang, the Chief Operating Officer of Jamestown Center.
The difference is, pharmacies don't require you to knock in order to walk in. 13 On Your Side got an inside look into the dispensary. In order to even walk in the dispensary, a patient must verify their medical marijuana card at a window outside. Then, an armed guard opens the door inside to a small, open lobby area. After that, nothing stands between the patient and 13 different strains of medical marijuana with creative names such as Nacho Cheese, Sour Diesel Buddha, and Agent Orange. A computer maintains records of patients previous puchases.
"Employees will match the patients' symptoms and conditions to the specific strain that will work." says Huang.
As far as payment goes, it is by donation, and donations are cash-driven - which means there is no paper trail. 13 On Your Side wanted to know how the dispensary tracks sales records in order to keep the dispensary honest and make money for the state come tax time.
"When you make your payment, our patient consultant will log it into the computer which tracks the sales. all the information remains on the computer which tracks the sales" says Huang.
Huang also told us there is a daily inventory check that has to be done in accordance with A.D.H.S. regulations.
Even with the go-ahead to film the facility, there were still some doors that were kept locked, and some rooms we werent allowed to enter.
When it comes to security Huang says the building is also heavily secured with bulletproof windows, and security cameras both inside and outside of the facility. It is very easy to obtain qualification to buy medical marijuana. All you have to do is convince a doctor that you survive from one of Arizona's approved ailments, such as HIV, AIDS, ALS, Cancer, anxiety, or severe chronic pain. However, if you are approved, it is very unlikely your insurance provider will cover the medicine. Even at sale prices, certain strains of medical marijuana at the dispensary still cost about 350 dollars an ounce. There are currently 500 medical marijuana patients registered in Yuma county.
One thing is for certain, the industry of medical marijuana is on the rise here in Yuma. Huang says " We have already seen the increase, because yuma is one of Arizona's largest cities, We believe that it will continue to grow"
But the controversy, is far from over.