The first dispensary to open in the U.S. was the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club in 1992, modelled off of the “coffee shop” stores in the Netherlands that started selling marijuana in the seventies. Since then, the number of dispensaries across the country has grown exponentially.
As of 2016, 16 states and Washington D.C. have at least one state-regulated medical marijuana dispensary. As of 2015, there were over 800 active medical dispensaries in California alone. In states where medical marijuana is legal, patients must belong to a part of the collective to enter a dispensary. In states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, any adult over the age of 21 is authorized to enter a dispensary.