When Santa Ana held its first-ever medical marijuana lottery back in 2015, city officials essentially plucked names from a hat, deciding who would be the first five licensed dispensaries legally allowed to operate in Orange County. When OC3’s name was called, so began their journey to make the best dispensary in Orange County. “Our main goal was to bring the community together and make it a healthy and friendly environment,” says OC3 General Manager Maggie Carothers.
Carothers received her A.A. for Pharmaceutical Science from Carrington College in 2007 and her B.A. from the University of Washington in 2010 for Environmental Science. She spent six years in pharmaceuticals and outpatient services before realizing she wanted to be more involved with the medical marijuana industry. Carothers is responsible for the day-to-day operations as well as most of the product and flower that rest on the shelves.
Ever wonder how dispensaries decide what to carry? For OC3, Carothers bases all her decisions on the clientele, the new regulations, and keeping prices low. The main idea is to treat patients with compassion so they receive the best bang for their buck. The last thing we would ever want do is overcharge patients for their meds. “We want cater to all price ranges, all parties and all ages,” she says. “We have prices as low as $10 or $5 for product, and as high as $60. There are some specialty products that range as high as $110, but we always strive to keep our prices low.”
According to Carothers, Santa Ana City officials frequently visit the dispensary and have rated them one of the top five best dispensaries in Orange County in regards to compliance, protocol and safe access for patients. As a precaution, all budtenders are required to pass a thorough background check and have a Live Scan done at the police department. But empathy for patients is the most important trait Carothers looks for in her staff.
“Communication with the patient is most important because that way you know exactly what they need,” confirms OC3 budtender Stevie Speakman. “It’s really important to me to get the patient what they need, not just whatever to get them high. I want to specifically give them the exact medication that they need for their problems.”
In Jan. 2018, recreational marijuana will be legal throughout California. While the transition will have its share of uncertainty for those in the medical marijuana industry, OC3 is well-positioned to handle whatever challenges come into play. “I think the people and the management are very adaptable and we’re gonna do really well,” says budtender Becca Medina. “Everyone here really cares about the product we’re selling and the people we’re helping, so whether we expand for recreational or do both side-by-side, I think the patients are the focus and the people coming in are the focus and the store will do well with it.”
The space adjacent to the sleek and modern dispensary is currently a studio, however, the hope is that in the near future OC3 will buy that space and expand. If the expansion does take place one side will be completely dedicated to medicinal products and will also allow for more one-on-one patient counseling. Meanwhile, OC3 offers a wide array of daily deals, tons of texts blasts and a buy-two-get-one-free section with a rotation of edibles, flower, oil and other meds. Since the primary focus is treatment, there’s no way they can leave out our veterans and seniors with their own special discounts, as they start to explore canna options.
On average there are 50 different strains on hand to choose from. OC3 stocks a variety of high class oils, vapes, extracts and concentrates: including Archive Seed Back, Holy Water Extracts, Rove Brands, Heavy Hitters and Kiva Confections. They also have a prestigious selection of glass pieces, some reaching up to $100,000, as well as their own OC3 clothing line. The dispensary will continue to strive to offer premium products, exceptional, personal and professional customer service, and competitive prices with continue to gain—and keep—their patients’ loyalty.
“When you have a relationship with a customer you really get to see the other side of their life,” Carothers says. “You have a chance to listen to their stories of struggle to find cures or treatment. We do everything in our power to educate our patients for a better and healthier solution to the alternatives that have been unsuccessful.”