Recreational Drug Stores - Buzz Shops
Because products are only sold in licensed stores, the buying process can be designed to emphasize safety and health. Taking cues from how other stores use layout to influence purchases is one easy technique. Put the low-risk blue dot stuff in easy reach and make it prominent. Make the yellow dot stuff a bit harder to reach and less visible. Put the red dot stuff all behind the counter, ensuring that to buy it, you must ask for it, creating the opportunity the trained clerks need to speak to you about risks if they feel it warranted. Put the various supplementary products that enhance the safety of certain buzzes right there with them (such as vaporizers by the cannabis, and B12 supplements by the nitrous oxide). Offer a discount if bought together. Have an aisle for depressants, another for stimulants, and a third for hallucinogens, so that people first consider what kind of buzz they want, and then compare the options on offer for that buzz type. Have one end of the check-out counter set up as a nook with stools, so staff and customers have a comfortable place to talk, which is always to be encouraged and something clerks would often initiate. Make all of that part of the regulations, all stores would be required to use that layout.
There would be lots of information around. The signs marking the sections would mention the basics about them - depressants for relaxation, don't use yellow or red dot ones together or with yellow or red dot stimulants ... stimulants for a boost, same no mixing rule as the depressants... hallucinogens for a different outlook, don't increase your dose until what you have already taken has fully hit you. There would also be leaflets, QR codes, and a bit of signage in salient places on the shelves. Clerks would drop cards or leaflets into your bag if there was something they thought you should have.
Once you were ready to check out, you would give the clerk your license. Swiping it would bring up your purchase file. If your file had flags, the clerk would see them on her screen. If what you were buying added to the concerns registered by the flags, a protocol would begin. Some flags would just be precautionary, like pointing out you have recently bought a buzz that should not be mixed with what you are currently buying. The clerk might quickly point that out, especially if she didn't know you. Serious flags would be about purchase patterns indicating possible binging or the onset of addiction. The first time that flag showed up, she would probably just ask you about how you have been using buzzes, and how you have been feeling. Then for the next while staff would watch you to decide if the flag is pointing out real behaviour, or it's just because you usually buy stuff for a few people. If they decide you are binging or becoming addicted, a note to this effect would be placed on your record. A clerk would then have several options when serving you. She could mention things you need to think about if you want to make your buzz use safe. She could add things to your bag - maybe information, maybe some free samples of support products that would make your buzz use healthier, maybe an invitation to see a particular person or go to a particular group to talk about addiction. She could ask you to come over and sit down at the nook, to talk at greater length, maybe to her, or to her manager, who would have greater training. In the case of customers where concern was high, walking into the store would likely provoke a staff member to come up to you as you shop and start chatting - how are you doing? did you try x or y? would you consider trying a or b? have anything you'd like to say? be well, okay? If you were clearly in a state, staff could choose on that occasion to refuse you service. They would send you home, or refer you to a buzz bar, which we'll discuss on the next page. Buzz bars could handle anything.
Most customers, of course, would only ever have the precautionary flags, easily cleared off their records. For instance, if you had never before purchased a particular yellow or red dot buzz, that would cause a flag. The clerk would take a moment to explain any details about that buzz you should know before using it the first time. In some cases, like maybe nitrous oxide, he would ask you to move over to the nook so he could explain it properly (once you read the nitrous section you'll know why). As another example, if you had an ongoing habit of buying two or more yellow or red dot products at the same time, your file would get a flag that probably staff should thoroughly check you don't mix them. Unless the clerk knew you and felt secure you weren't intending to do something like that, he'd get more in-depth about it with you. Staff would take care to do all these things in a way that is dignified for you, friendly, and maintains your privacy.
Buzz Bar Shops
The point of having licensed buzz shops is clearly to protect the people who use buzzes recklessly or excessively. Of the 10 to 15 percent of buzz users who go through a period of addiction at some point, many need a different kind of attention than a buzz shop geared to the general population could properly provide. The stores attached to buzz bars would provide that service. Buzz bars and their shops would be up for anything, their staff would have enough medical training to oversee the high doses addicted people commonly take and anything that might happen as a consequence.
The ways a regular buzz store would help out people who have gotten into some form of buzz abuse would be enough for many of them. Then there would be the people who wouldn't prevent their tolerance from sharply rising, despite assistance for that (which will be described under support services). The issue is these people would need buzz products stronger than is appropriate for general sale, and they would need assistance and monitoring of a more focused nature. Staff in buzz bars would get to know the customers that are in a severe addiction, being in the ideal position to do that - they are their bartenders. They would therefore also be the staff who sell 'take-away' buzz products from the stores connected to their bars. All products would be behind the counter, and be stronger mixes of the buzzes in regular stores. Many products in these stores would only be available to people registered on the purchase database as addicted. If you weren't a heavy user, there would be no point in going into such a store. Staff in these stores would essentially be specialists in addiction, there time would be wasted on people who just want to buy some weed or some poppers. If the system functions correctly, most shop customers would be working on one of the steps used for reducing buzz use, and the staff would be working with them on that, both through the shop and the bar.
Under the current system, if you are an injection drug user who is very lucky, you get some semblance of this kind of attention. A few places encourage such addicts to go to small clinics that at least provide clean needles and take steps to ensure nobody overdoses (although they don't provide the buzz drugs so they don't really know what is in them). People with addictions to illegal drugs that aren't injected get no help at all. Legal buzz drugs supplied at a reasonable cost should eliminate people injecting stuff. Addicted people do that now to get the biggest fix they can from what they score, because it is expensive, and they have trouble buying enough to feel good once their tolerance has gone way up. Are there other ways a well-designed buzz control system would change how addictions play out? We will look as several approaches on the next two pages, on buzz bars and support services, aimed at minimizing the impact of addiction. Shops, especially buzz bar shops, are also designed with that aim in mind.