Article by Tom Morrison, Bellville Intelligencer
Customers at Blenheim’s first cannabis store will have the option to sniff the product before they buy.
High Limits Cannabis Company, which was set to open Tuesday, has display containers set up at the shop so anyone interested can inspect what the dry flower looks like and the kind of odour it emits.
Phil Bradbury, who owns the store with Greg Kazarian, said there aren’t many legal shops in Ontario that have installed these “smell pods.”
“To me it’s a very important part of the shopping experience – coming in and not just seeing a video board with a bunch of strains on it,” he said. “We kind of felt if that’s what the store is going to offer, what’s the point in even going to it?”
Higher Limits, at 52 Catherine St., still has video boards available, as well as tablets and an online system to place orders.
While growing up in a time when cannabis was illegal in Canada, Bradbury said seeing, smelling and weighing the product before buying was the most important part.
The licenced producers now weigh the product before it’s packaged, but he said the containers will still be helpful to those who are converting from the black or grey market to the legal market.
“This is an opportunity for them to have an experience they’re used to where they can see the product as opposed to just taking someone’s word for it, because their experiences with purchasing marijuana likely doesn’t have a lot to do with just trusting,” Bradbury said.
Kazarian said part of the “fun” of buying cannabis is seeing and smelling it, as well as “the joy of getting a big nug.”
“Some of these you look at and you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s so awesome,’” he said. “I can’t imagine going to store to buy cannabis without getting a look at at least some of them.”
Bradbury said the dry flower they sell ranges in price, so having the products displayed also allows customers to decide if a higher-end strain is worth the extra money.
Aside from the smell jars, Kazarian said they have designed the store so the experience can be however the customers prefer.
“We’ve spent a lot of time making sure everybody is trained and has learned as much as we can fit in about the products and cannabis as a whole and terpenes and all those important things,” he said.
“If somebody wants to come in, a new user, for example, and wants to talk about it or understand it better, we’ll be able to educate them on that.”
Someone with more experience could come in and order what they want or place an order ahead of time at www.higherlimits.com, he said.
Bradbury said they have had representatives from cannabis producers, as well as independent consultants, in to train their seven staff members about the different products, including why they smell a certain way.
For the grand opening on Saturday, representatives from Chatham’s AgMedica Bioscience Inc. will be in the store to discuss their locally-grown products.
Along with the dry flower, the owners said they will have all of the different types of products on the legal market, ranging from pre-rolls to kief to beverages.
Anyone entering the Blenheim store must be 19 or older and must show identification regardless of how old they look. Masks are mandatory and customers will be asked to use hand sanitizer, Kazarian said.
Although this is the second cannabis store in Chatham-Kent after The We Store in Chatham, Kazarian and Bradbury are advertising it as the first locally-owned shop in the municipality. Kazarian lives in Ridgetown and Bradbury lives in LaSalle.
Shiny Buds Cannabis Company, which has opened stores in other parts of Ontario, is also proposing a shop for Blenheim. As well, there are seven stores in Chatham, two in Tilbury and two in Wallaceburg that are awaiting approval.