Access point

Seniors from Laguna Woods Village, an age 55 and up community in Southern California, visit Bud and Bloom medical and recreation dispensary in Santa Ana, Calf. on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. Bud and Bloom, sponsors a monthly shuttle to bring seniors from Laguna Woods Village to shop. (Nick Agro for Leafly)

In the marijuana industry, an access point refers to any location in which cannabis may be purchased. Legal access points are more often called “dispensaries” or “cannabis shops,” and they may serve recreational and/or authorized medical patients depending on their licensing credentials. Access points are important in that they provide individuals with a safe, regulated source of cannabis, replacing illicit market sources.

“Our neighborhood needs more legal access points to cannabis.”

“Access points must be at least 1,000 feet away from schools and parks.”

What is an access point?

The definition of an access point is simply any place where an individual can obtain cannabis. This term typically refers to legal access points, or regulated shops and dispensaries that can provide customers with a safe and secure location to purchase cannabis. Legal access points offer individuals an alternative to the illicit market, which can be intimidating, dangerous, and difficult to navigate. 

Benefits of access points

Legal access points for cannabis offer many benefits for both recreational and medical cannabis consumers alike; among the most important benefits is safety and security. Licensed cannabis access points generally provide a comfortable and safe environment for purchasing cannabis with a dedicated security staff.

With legal access points, the front counter is staffed by individuals available to answer questions customers may have about cannabis and the many products offered. For new or first-time consumers, this additional assistance can be enormously helpful as they navigate an unfamiliar product and experience.

Medical access points may also offer a greater degree of privacy so individuals can feel more comfortable discussing their medical needs with the store’s staff. These access points typically have a waiting room, and patients are called into the main product room individually.

Cannabis shops, both medical and recreational, should also take measures to ensure they are in fact accessible to individuals with disabilities by providing wheelchair ramps, chairs, menus with large font, and other accommodations to meet the diverse needs of customers.

Where to find an access point

In areas with legal medical or recreational cannabis, you can find nearby access points by using Leafly’s dispensary locator tool. This tool allows you to search by proximity and filter for any particular needs you may have, such as wheelchair access and veteran discounts. 

Certain restrictions may be placed on access point locations. For example, a cannabis shop may not be permitted within a certain distance from schools, parks, and other facilities with youth. Certain cities or areas may also have a moratorium on cannabis access points and prohibit them from setting up shop within particular limits.