A Special Look Inside the Largest Dispensary in the World

Harborside Health Center is the largest marijuana medical dispensary in the United States with the mission “To help build a world that lives by the values cannabis teaches us.” In 2006, Steve DeAngelo founded the dispensary because he says, “For many years, I’ve dreamed of creating an environment that was really worthy of this magnificent, almost magic plant.” DeAngelo hopes to set the highest standards in all aspects of medicinal cannabis by promoting responsible use, cannabis education, and confidence in each strain’s quality. With over 200,000 registered medical patients, Harborside is one of the most respected dispensaries for becoming the first in the nation to support education for seniors, veterans, and families with severely ill children, first to offer CBD-rich medicine, and one of the main advocates for diversity, sustainability, and justice in the cannabis industry.

In 2011, the Discovery Channel premiered the documentary series “Weed Wars”, which explores the medical marijuana business by following the Harborside Health Center. DeAngelo agreed to shoot the show hoping it would educate Americans on the regulation, taxation, and sale of medical marijuana, “We wanted to be a model to other dispensaries, most of who have a media phobia. We wanted to tell our story and we gave Discovery complete access so that people could make up their own minds.There are a lot of stereotypes about who comes to these dispensaries, but viewers will see our customers cover a huge cross-section of the population – age, race and economic classes. They will also see how Harborside treats cannabis as a medicine, and we have a high standard of medical care.”  


In the old days, weed "branding" was defined by plastic baggies, pot leaf imagery, tie-dye, and in some cases, imagery of conventionally hot girls in bikinis or booty shorts. The messages back then revolved around weed as a stereotypically male stoner pastime, whilst alienating women, or those who didn't appreciate the strip club aesthetic in connection to their medicinal or recreational products. But in recent years, and especially in legal states, this has all begun to change.

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