Sure, opening a medical marijuana dispensary in
But it requires much more than that. Gullickson,
"It's a definite personality, and I can see it in people. When clients ask me, 'What is the No. 1 thing that will get me through the process?' I say, 'It's the passion for the industry,'" she said. "It's easier to give up."
Most won't make it through the process. Gullickson said thousands of people have contacted her company about opening a dispensary in
Or the regulations make them uneasy. Applicants must go through a fingerprint background check, full disclosure of past bankruptcy, defaults on student loans, child support or alimony, and they must release full tax returns for previous years.
They also have to turn in a proposed plan for just about every aspect of their business, including security, exterior and interior design, and patient education.
Only about one in five applicants elsewhere has landed a permit.
Some surefire ways Gullickson can tell a client is serious: if they've read the state's medical marijuana bill and draft of regulations; if they understand what the drug does; and if they've already started looking at real estate and set the money aside.
It's the people who come in and say "We're gonna make millions" that raise a red flag for Gullickson. She said they're usually looking for a get-rich-quick scheme and don't realize it's a long journey that requires perseverance.
Now 31, he's a graduate of
Khoshabe has been building relationships with officials in
"I'm gonna be an investor, an operator. Basically, I'm gonna oversee it," he said. "This is gonna be my baby."
He even has a name picked out: Alternative Releaf.
And an alternative is exactly what he's looking for.
"I see a lot of people, very close people I know, who are addicted to prescription painkillers," he said. "It just saddens me because they use that as something they need to help with their pain."
In fact, Gullickson said most of her clients have an emotional pull to the industry, such as a family member with a debilitating condition who could benefit from cannabis.
Khoshabe said it doesn't scare him to risk the money before landing a permit. It's just the cost of doing business, he said, and he believes he's a strong candidate.
But the costs stop some applicants.
"A lot of people don't have that kind of money that's liquid," said
He also believes the high fees and strict regulations are necessary for the industry to gain credibility in
"It legitimizes the medicinal aspect of the plant," Rediger said. "By regulating the business, it makes it more serious in the patients' eyes."
Eventually, he said, dispensaries will be considered like a
Gullickson agreed. She said because the state had a hard time passing this law, strict regulations are necessary to make it work. But she went a step further than comparing dispensaries to a
"Part of what I do is educate clients," Gullickson said. "It's not gonna be a sleazy pot shop. It's actually high-end."
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