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Patients of the Month: Jonathan and Caroline Crandall

“We became the first I-71 gifters to fully convert and open as a medical dispensary in D.C.”

Jonathan and Caroline Crandall are life partners as well as business partners. The couple celebrated the grand opening of their medical Cannabis dispensary, Green Theory, this past April. 

The shop is located on the outskirts of the Georgetown neighborhood in Washington, D.C., and was something Jonathan had envisioned as a job since he was a teenager. He started using Cannabis to help with anxiety, not knowing much about it other than it made him feel better. 

“This is where I wish I was back then,” he said about opening the dispensary. “I never really thought of it as an actual possibility because we can’t make the laws ourselves.”

Caroline, however, had not been involved in the industry until recently. Although she started smoking casually in high school, she said she did not become more involved in the industry until last year. She left her position at The Washington Post to help take on more of the business side of the shop, utilizing skills she acquired from her previous jobs and her master’s degree in analytics. 

“We’re still relatively young at this point. I feel like if you’re going to take a leap of faith in life, let’s do it and try and see,” she said. 

It required a few different paths to get to opening a dispensary. In 2017, Jonathan started The Highlands and would go to different pop-ups to sell various Cannabis products under D.C.’s Initiative 71 marijuana law, which is where vendors can offer Cannabis as a gift with the purchase of another product. Because there were only a handful of medical dispensaries and licenses available, the gifting market took over. 

“It got pretty relaxed where people were ultimately selling weed with no regulation,” he said. 

Not too long after he started the Cannabis delivery company Dessert First, D.C. announced it would be opening up licensing opportunities to I-71 gifters. Jonathan and Caroline jumped at the opportunity before the gifting scene was shut down.  

“We became the first I-71 gifters to fully convert and open as a medical dispensary in D.C.,” he said.  

The couple got their medical cards in preparation for opening the store and began going to different dispensaries to try products and conduct marketing research. Before Green Theory’s grand opening, there were only six medical dispensaries open in D.C., and Caroline said there isn’t much information about D.C. medical Cannabis because of the small number of medical stores open. 

“Any time anyone gives us any guidance, we jump on that because we’re out here flying blind because the I-71 market is so different,” she said. 

Caroline also said the shop will focus on being compliant. While they were visiting local dispensaries, she said they observed how diligent the shops were at correctly labeling products, which is a change for them coming from the gifting market. 

“It’s awesome for us to get this opportunity to become legal and compliant with the government and do something we both believe in,” she said. 

When they aren’t working, the two enjoy indulging in indica-leaning hybrids or full indica strains. Jonathan said he loves the classics like Master Kush and Blueberry, while Caroline said her favorite strain is Gushers, preferring to vape her Cannabis. 

The two have built a strong support system through the process of opening the shop, saying that with all of the challenges and stress, they’re lucky nothing has gotten out of hand.  

“As we’re starting out, we’re slowly building up our customer base and have all this overhead. It’s really nice to not be alone in this, so we’ve definitely been leaning on each other in that aspect,” Jonathan said. 

With the dispensary now open, Jonathan and Caroline have their own goals for what they hope to bring to the D.C. Cannabis community and to those who are visiting from beyond the district. In addition to wanting to introduce more analytics into the market, Caroline wants the shop to be inviting to the community, which she said includes a lot of female and older visitors. She said this became important to her after having a conversation with her mom. 

“It could be uncomfortable walking into a male-dominated smoke shop,” she said. “They’re looking for a store that seems trustworthy, and I want to show our sincerity to the community by the way our store looks.” 

While Jonathan’s main goal is accessibility and making sure his products are safely tested for his customers, he also said he hopes that by opening the dispensary, he can help with opioid harm reduction. 

“Throughout my whole life I’ve had friends pass away from that,” he said. “I’ve also had friends who got completely off of it through edibles and using Cannabis in general.”

greentheorydc.com | @greentheorydmv

This article was originally published in the July 2024 issue of Maryland Leaf.

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