OutCo Labs, one of Santa Ana's legal marijuana clinics, is discreetly tucked inside an industrial business center off of Dyer and the 55 freeway in Santa Ana. A distinctly high-end establishment, the interior of the dispensary feels much more like a Burke Williams spa than a head shop. If it wasn't for the sour, skunky aroma that whacks you across the face upon walking through the door, you'd never know you were in a dispensary.
"There aren’t a lot of standards in the industry right now, so were trying to create that standard," says Marc Lair, OutCo Labs Co-Founder and Senior Advisor. "It’s not your typical weed shop," he adds. "We’re going for the most professional place to purchase marijuana. Just look at our store—hopefully it's a much different feel than what you're used to."
OutCo Labs is an extension of Outliers Collective, the first legal store front in San Diego County. Lair and his team of founders have dedicated themselves to being the pioneers of proper medicinal marijuana facilities. Unlike the nine or 10 groups who won Santa Ana's medical marijuana lottery last year and have yet to open, OutCo Labs has gone the extra mile to ensure all regulations are met with flying colors. According to Lair, operating under cut throat compliances in San Diego County has made functioning in Orange County simple in comparison.
"The requirements aren’t as tough here as they are down in San Diego," Lair says. "So we’re running our facility to that same standard just to keep ourselves uniform and maintain consistency—it's a part of building that norm and changing the stigma."
Lair recalls how a friend suffering from Lyme disease was traumatized after going inside a shady pot shop. "She got her recommendation and went to some spot in Huntington Beach and when she left the clinic, she literally pulled over on the side of the road and called me crying saying she never wanted to go back," Lair says.
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Lair realized that his friend isn't alone—there are a lot of people like her who need and deserve safe and secure access to medical marijuana. The prescriptions are real prescriptions and cannabis is medicine, as Lair says, and no one should have to feel unsafe. "That's where we're putting our focus and thats what we want to give to the community: Completely safe and secure access."
As Outliers Collective is legally permitted to deliver marijuana within county lines, the service often delivers to hospice care. "We’ve had families thank us for giving their loved ones end of life quality," he says. "We’ve taken on the policy now that anyone with stage two, three or more cancer gets their medicine for free and we’re fortunate to have this opportunity," says Lair. "That’s what it's really about."
They're also creating medical devices for children need to use marijuana products, like CBD oil. According to Lair, the fastest way to get the effects of marijuana is through vaping, but the idea of a child putting any kid of paraphernalia to his or her mouth is disturbing and against what the industry is about. As a result, Lair and his team are developing a device that looks like an asthma inhaler and gives a precise dose. "You hold down a button like you would on a vape cartridge, but it looks and functions exactly like an inhaler," he says. "It dispenses a very measured amount and you can calibrate it, making it a great alternative for children who need to use marijuana (CBD) for truly medicinal purposes."
OutCo and Outliers Collective are focused on putting an end to the reefer madness by proving to the community that they're a real business, providing a real service that helps a lot of people. "They’re one of the few groups who are really tackling the business the right way," says renowned marijuana attorney Chris Glew. "They're trying to be the flagship example of how to do this correctly."