Marijuana Matters: Will legal pot put dispensaries out of business?

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) J.P. Farineau has spent his whole life playing and coaching sports. Almost 70, the jumping and turning have taken a toll on his body.

"Just basically wore all my joints out," Farineau said. "So I have had about 11 operations."

All of those operations left him in unbearable pain, especially in his back.

"Just a lot of joint pain, just a lot of pain screaming, it just is exhausting," he said.

Farineau says for his pain, his doctor recommended medical marijuana, something he had never considered before.

Reporter Ike Bendavid: Has it helped?
J.P. Farineau: Oh, my god. It's taken my pain from an eight or nine all the time-- which is also a problem with sleeping-- to about a two or three.

Farineau is one of 5,000 medical marijuana patients in Vermont who still want to go to dispensaries even though marijuana is legal now.

"We grow, we extract, we have an infusion kitchen where we infuse products, we package and sell and distribute," said Bridget Conry, who helps run the Champlain Valley Dispensary.

On this day, Conry is at the warehouse in Milton where they prepare products for their medical marijuana dispensaries. She says legalizing recreational pot has not cut into sales at their Burlington and South Burlington locations.

"Medical patients come to us. They really need a consultative approach. We have discovered that a lot of people are coming to cannabis for the first time," Conry said.

Even with marijuana legal, Conry feels dispensaries won't go away anytime soon because people want to know what they are getting.

"In the gifting market or the gray market that is existing with legalization right now, you are not going to have that consistency," she said.

J.P. Farineau: It's very much like taking a medication. I don't see any difference.
Ike Bendavid: Would you ever go to someone on the street to get mari...
J.P. Farineau: Oh, no, no, no, because you don't know what you are getting.

Farineau says he is against marijuana use for anyone under 21. But he says since he's been taking a cannabis tincture prescribed by his doctor, his pain has gone down, allowing him to be active again. You might even see him riding his bike on the Colchester Causeway.