Medical Marijuana Purchasing: The Dispensary Ordering Process Explained
Have you visited one of the Solevo Wellness dispensary locations recently and wondered why there weren’t more medical marijuana products to choose from?
One of the most important parts about operating a dispensary in the state of Pennsylvania is remaining in stock on the medical products that our patients need as part of their care and treatment regimens. We want nothing more than to have a full menu to show our patients, and to remain in stock on those products. Unfortunately, what seems like it should be the simplest part of the process can oftentimes be the most challenging. As the state continues to face an ongoing dry leaf shortage, there are a number of factors we’re working through on a weekly (and daily!) basis.
In the long run, we continue to believe that inventory levels throughout the state will normalize as more of the new growers are approved and begin shipping throughout the state. We are optimistic that this will happen as we move throughout 2020. In the short term, our team put together this overview of the medical marijuana purchasing process so we could be as transparent as possible about what takes place today.
How Do You Decide What Products to Purchase?
Medical marijuana purchasing is driven by two major factors at Solevo: patient demand and availability from our growers.
In terms of patient demand, we get information from multiple sources. We hear feedback from our patients in our dispensary locations, on social media, and through surveys. We also compare selling rates based on the medicine that we dispense, so we understand what products are most desired and what we want to stock the most of. We also are regularly in touch with our growers, so that we are prepared for any new medical products that will be brought to market.
The availability side is unfortunately much more of a challenge for us today. We would prefer to have much greater inventory availability from our growers – and therefore consistently provide more choices to our patients – but this is not always a challenge with an easy solution.
How Often Do You Place Orders?
We place orders every week at Solevo. Unfortunately, not all growers are on a weekly or even a bi-weekly ordering schedule. For example, we currently have a monthly ordering allotment from one of our growers and others who try to supply us with medicine once a week. We are still doing our best to get what we can for our patients based on certain growers’ allotment schedules.
We place orders at the beginning of each week for the following week, but it is rare to receive an order within the same week.
How Many Growers Do You Place Orders From Today?
Currently, we have 13 growers on board at Solevo who supply us with medicine.
Some, like Moxie, Terrapin, Standard Farms, and Cresco have been with us since the early days of PA medical marijuana. Some, like Ilera and Grassroots are newer to Solevo, and some like Calypso and Hanging Gardens are just ramping up in 2020.
We’d love weekly orders from all growers, but some are on a bi-weekly or a monthly ordering schedules based on their current grow schedules and testing timelines.
Why Don’t You Order More From Those Growers?
Right now, Solevo Wellness tries to max out all allotments given by our grower/processors. Oftentimes, we may ask for hundreds, if not thousands, of amounts of certain products but will receive what that grower deemed our allotment as. For example, we may ask for 400 of a certain product and only receive 48 or 120 of that product. In this way, we are at the mercy of what certain growers will allow us to receive because they must supply other dispensaries across the state as well.
Why Aren’t Growers Able to Ship More?
We wish there was an easy answer to this one! The PA medical marijuana program is growing, and the number of dispensaries has been increasing at a fast rate.
Due to this, many of the current PA grower/processors are in the process of building additions to their facilities in order to increase the amount of medicine they can grow for the state. However, this doesn’t solve the medical marijuana product shortages happening right now.
We also know that there will be new licensed growers who will begin to ship medical products to dispensaries. This will also help to address the current imbalance between supply and demand.
How Much More Would You Be Buying if You Could Get it?
In a perfect world, we would purchase enough so that all of our patients consistently had access to their preferred medical marijuana products. We know we’re not there today, but that is what we are always working towards with our growers.
Ultimately, our goal is to receive as much product as needed to ensure that all patients are properly, safely, and financially able to receive any type or form of medicine they need for their condition.
Is It True You “Hold Back” Some Products from the Menu?
It’s true that sometimes we don’t put everything on our menu the day we receive it. This is not a common occurrence, but it can take place.
Our goal is to provide a menu with all forms and types and species for those types. We do not want to be out of a particular form almost instantly, so in certain cases we will gradually release the medicine. This is so that as many people as possible have the potential to receive their medicine or something similar. Ultimately, our reasoning behind this is to support and provide medicine for as many of our patients as possible.
What New Growers Will be Shipping in 2020?
Right now we know of a few growers who are popping up, such as Calypso, Hanging Gardens, Whole Plants, and more! Stay tuned for more updates on social media and our email newsletter for updates.
Curious for more info? You can also learn more about the process these growers go through on the DOH website.
When Do You Expect Them to Begin Shipping?
Right now we expect to see new growers shipping within the first and second quarter of the year. However, it still may take them over a year until they are up and running at full capacity. The good news is that many of them have already started building out more in preparation to the program.
Anything Else To Know?
As we work through the bumps in the medical marijuana purchasing process (such as product shortages) while new growers continue to come on board, we will continue to get what we can for our patients and listen to our patients’ needs. Should you have questions, concerns, or other feedback don’t hesitate to let our new Patient Support Coordinator know.
We are looking forward to an exciting 2020 (including more growers to begin shipping product) and are grateful for the opportunity we have to be a part of your medical marijuana treatment.