Dispensaries like Shangri-La See Diverse Range of Customers as Social Stigma Declines
Colombia, Missouri might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of cannabis, but this vibrant college town is embracing the green revolution. Dispensaries are drawing in a diverse range of customers, defying stereotypes and surpassing expectations. Dispensaries in Colombia are attracting customers of all ages, defying stereotypes and reflecting a shifting social attitude towards cannabis. As the legalization of cannabis sweeps through the state, sales remain consistent across all age groups, unveiling a diverse community of cannabis enthusiasts.
Matthew Garner, a 29-year-old supervisor at Shangri-La Dispensary, told Jasmyne Ricard of KPVI NBC, “The stigma around adult-use cannabis consumption is evolving alongside the changing tides of legalization. We’re seeing a shift in attitudes.” Garner, responsible for ensuring compliance and providing support to both employees and customers, emphasizes the intentional efforts made by the dispensary to remove the lingering stigma associated with cannabis.
Since the availability of licenses for adult-use cannabis sales, Shangri-La Dispensary and others in the area have experienced remarkable increases in business. Garner explains, “Our patient flow has soared. It’s as if we’ve doubled or tripled our flow of patients.” The dispensary has created an environment that welcomes everyone, transcending demographics and creating a sense of community.
“We’re all about moving past slang and embracing the term ‘cannabis.’ We want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable stepping into our dispensary,” Garner adds, emphasizing the dispensary’s commitment to banishing negative connotations surrounding cannabis consumption.
Contrary to popular belief, cannabis consumption extends far beyond young adults. Recent research reveals that people of all ages are engaging in both adult-use and medicinal cannabis. According to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the proportion of reported past-year cannabis consumption among young adults reached 43% in 2021. However, Garner notes that the customer base at Shangri-La Dispensary spans a wide range of ages, from 21-year-olds to patients in their 70s and 80s. The dispensary caters to diverse individuals seeking the benefits of cannabis.
While the acceptance of cannabis among different age groups is on the rise, dispensaries face challenges associated with the relatively new legalization of adult-use cannabis in Missouri. Underage customers attempting to purchase cannabis is a concern that dispensaries are actively addressing. Garner explains that Shangri-La Dispensary utilizes strict ID verification processes to ensure compliance with federal regulations.
Sales, however, have remained consistent among legal-age customers, signaling the widespread appeal of cannabis across the community. “We’ve built a community. It’s not about one specific demographic; it’s about embracing diversity. We welcome everyone, from every part of town. It’s pretty amazing,” Garner expresses with pride.
As researchers continue to uncover the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis, more individuals across all age groups are turning to cannabis as an alternative treatment for various conditions. The availability of different cannabis products, such as edibles, gummies, and oils, provides further options for those who prefer alternatives to smoking due to health concerns or discomfort.
Colombia, Missouri is a shining example of the evolving cannabis landscape in America. With dispensaries like Shangri-La leading the way, the social stigma surrounding cannabis is diminishing, making way for an inclusive community that appreciates the diverse benefits this plant has to offer.
As the legalization of adult-use cannabis sweeps through the state, Colombia, Missouri proves that cannabis culture knows no age limits. Whether for adult-use enjoyment or medicinal purposes, cannabis is bringing together people from all walks of life, fostering a sense of unity and acceptance in this flourishing town.