I recently had the great pleasure and honor to be a panelist at the O’Cannabis Conference and Expo held recently in Vancouver, BC.
The conference overall was outstanding and Montel Williams, celebrity talk show host and Cannabis activist and strong advocate, was a keynote speaker. His message was truly inspiring, motivating and gripping. He shared powerful and very personal stores about his disease, diagnosed in 1999, Multiple Sclerosis.
For two years he battled the disease using exclusively pain pills until a friend, a Harvard educated M.D., told him no more pain pills, lets give Cannabis a try. That began a nearly 19 year campaign to change the way Cannabis is used and how it is viewed in this World.
He shared his strong view that we have only “scratched the surface” insofar as what this little plant can do to help so many. The medical application possibilities are, in his opinion, almost totally unknown and unlimited! He was excited to see the industry maturing and growing in sophistication and urged us all to push forward for more and more knowledge.
My panel, centered upon customer to customer interaction, the actual retail experience in the retail shops. I had something to say about that! I have owned and operated a State legal retail Cannabis shop in Ellensburg, Washington.
I calculated that our little shop has completed nearly 500,000 transactions since opening in August of 2014. All with no serious violations of any kind, I’m very proud of that! But the experience is complex largely due to the fact our customers are vert diverse and their want and/or needs for our products are equally diverse.
Employee education is a key to our success as it is and will be for any retail Cannabis store. But we go further than that; we focus on lighting, cleanliness, product display, menus, etc. We have a rewards program and we have daily specials and Happy Hour(s).
We attempt to make anyone and everyone feel welcome, even joyous in our presence. It’s our sincere goal to have everyone leaving our little shop smiling and hopeful. The fact is we have many customers who are suffering, or dealing with one problem or another. Anxiety, insomnia, headaches, digestive issues, and all sorts of pain issues stemming from injuries, surgeries, arthritis, and on and on. Roughly 4 in 5 of our customers need help with something so we take great pride in the quality if life issues we are assisting people with. Our motto is “Spread the Happiness”. In fact we have banners hanging on our building “spreading” this very message for all to see!
These little “pot” shops are so much more than most understand, certainly the folks who oppose legalization of adult-use Cannabis could never understand what is happening within our walls every day. Sure we are making a living, a good living from my perspective, but we are helping so many deal with so much. Safe, tested, compliance driven, taxed, in the bright light of day and under heavy unrelenting scrutiny, this industry is doing so much for so many.
And we here at Cannabis Central of Ellensburg, my shop, take great pride in doing this the right way. I am so proud of what we are doing and how we are doing it. This industry is growing in complexity and sophistication, this is true. But let us all hope we never lose that personal and oh so human of interactions, caring and compassion, knowledge and spirit that means everything to that individual who enters our shop in need of some kind of help that can brighten their day just a bit. That’s everything.
Rob Hendrix, Owner
Cannabis Central LLC
Cannabis Consulting Nationwide LLC