Give patients the power

Inside Mary Jane’s Wellness, where meds are 10 bucks

Nicole Cochran tends to the meds at Mary Jane’s Wellness.

Nicole Cochran tends to the meds at Mary Jane’s Wellness.

Photo By William Leung

Mary Jane’s Wellness is located at 2271 Sunrise Boulevard, Suite B, in Gold River; (916) 635-2837;
Buddy Peeler is a medical-cannabis patient writing under a pseudonym

A lot of cannabis collectives are dingy and claustrophobic, waiting rooms furnished with old couches and the ever-present cheap waterfall fountain with not enough water in it.

And then there’s Mary Jane’s Wellness. Hidden away on Sunrise Boulevard in Gold River—next to Clutch Mart, El Pollo Loco and a store called “Furniture”—Mary Jane’s is a nonprofit collective with a unique business plan. The store has a fixed-price model, like a dollar store, but instead of everything costing a dollar, all of the cannabis at is the same donation price: $10 a gram—well, make that $10.88 with tax.

“We pay sales tax to the state of California in fairly large numbers,” explained the clean-cut, middle-aged owner, who declined to give his name because of other Gold River businesses that he is involved in.

Launched last March, Mary Jane’s donation room is big enough to play handball in. Glass cases, which were salvaged from Sacramento’s old Montgomery Ward’s jewelry department, encase the product at individual sales stations. There is no hard-to-read menu board, and you don’t have to do the crab walk back and forth along a glass counter covered in jars. Instead, you get individual help from a station that has everything that you’d like to buy, for 10 bucks a gram.

Mary Jane’s is insured by Lloyd’s of London, has an array of high-tech security, and is 100 percent compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

“We are in the business of compassionate care,” the owner told SN&R with enthusiasm. “We are not just here to make money. I’m not in a position where I need the money, so I have a different agenda than everyone else. I believe in the cause and support the cause and I’d like to see that extended throughout the community.”

But Mary Jane’s, like all collectives, constantly struggles with local authorities and others who like to paint all medical-marijuana dispensaries with one wide brush because, many argue, they want to see all the pot clubs closed.

“We are trying to be 100 percent compliant with all the rules,” the owner said, “and hopefully the county and the other municipalities throughout the state [will] take a look at what we are doing and embrace it, because I think that we are part of the solution, not the problem.”

As a not-for-profit business, Mary Jane’s books are wide open to the authorities. All the vendors are paid by check. The employees are well-paid and are covered by workers’ compensation.

“We haven’t made a single dollar on this business at all, and from my perspective that’s a good thing,” the owner said. “We want that. We are trying to give the patients the power instead of us. I’m just here to be able to orchestrate the whole thing and provide the opportunity that everybody is entitled to by state law.”