Article by Ellwood Shreve, Chatham This Week
The owners of Chatham’s newest pot shop are hoping they can overcome whatever sigma may still exist with cannabis use.
Located in downtown Chatham, Herbologi opened to the public on the weekend, although it had a “soft opening” on Nov. 12.
Chris Colasanti, a partner in the local ownership group, said the store’s owners are “trying to overcome the stigma that may still exist (with cannabis).”
“We want people to come by and feel at home right way,” he said.
Herbologi is working with a wide range of producers, from Aphria in Leamington and Chatham-based Vertical Cannabis to producers from British Columbia and the East Coast, Colasanti said.
He said the store is also working with several Chatham-Kent businesses to purchase other products and services.
“We’re really trying to support local.”
The store also offers CBD (cannabidiol) products such as topical cream and oils that provide anti-inflammatory benefits, but don’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
“In Chatham, I see that as a huge opportunity because we have an older demographic here and that might be the sort of the products they might lean towards,” Colasanti said.
Since the retail cannabis industry was launched in October 2018, he said, “growth has been exponential.”
Noting the rollout of cannabis stores in Ontario was slower than other provinces because of the lottery system that was in place to acquire a retail license, Colasanti said the surface is just beginning to be scratched in the industry now that more shops are opening.
“There’s going to be a ton of innovation in this space,” he said, citing cannabis-infused alcohol products and oral sprays as examples. “I think that’s going to be really exciting.”
The regulations around the industry also require that staff be well trained before selling cannabis products to the public.
Colasanti said all employees must go through the CannSell certification process, similar to the SmartServe certification required to serve alcohol in bars and restaurants.