Where There’s Smoke: Medical Marijuana Brings Entrepreneurial Boom To Phoenix

ARIZONA:  Dustin Johnson isn’t your average drug dealer.

Despite a rigorous religious upbringing and an early career in real estate, he found his true calling as president of Monarch Wellness Center, Scottsdale’s only medical marijuana dispensary.

Johnson grew up in Scottsdale, attended Scottsdale Christian Academy and received a degree from the Church of Christ-affiliated Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He grew into the marijuana business to help people like his mother, who spent 10 years relying increasingly on narcotic pain medication for nerve damage before switching to pot after voters passed the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

“She was driving to South Phoenix to some of these collective operations that weren’t legitimate, and I realized there was a need for people like her for a facility in her neighborhood,” Johnson said.

He is part of a growing class of budding entrepreneurs who hold the 98 dispensary registration certificates currently in the state. For Johnson and his peers, navigating the path between criminal and caregiver is challenging, despite the ultimate reward he sees in easing people’s suffering.



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