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Alliston’s first cannabis store appreciates the community response

February 26, 2021   ·   0 Comments

As the first ever cannabis store in Alliston, Green Grove Cannabis is very happy with the response they have received from the public since opening the doors on December 29.

Manager Michael Spaziani and Catalina Duque Perez are both Alliston residents who take pride in the fact that they are local, as are all their staff, and that they are an independently owned store. The store interior was all built by local tradespeople as well.

As a relatively new industry in Canada and one that is heavily regulated, getting into the cannabis business can be quite a challenge. The cannabis industry in the Province is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and there are plenty of rules that have to be followed.

“After you get your operating license, the next step is to get your retail store authorization,” Michael explained of what it takes to open a cannabis retail location. “You need to establish a lease and they come in and make sure everything is up to snuff.”

There is a myriad of details that must be followed when you open a cannabis store.

The retail outlet must be at least 150 metres from a school. The store must be built in such a fashion that kids can’t see into the store, and you aren’t allowed to have a traditional storefront window to display products.

Green Grove has all the regulations in place to be both in compliance with the regulations and have a successful operation. The store also has an extensive security system in place for both their product and for staff and customers.

Rules do not allow for commercial advertising so word of mouth and social media is the way they spread the word that they are open for business.

“We can’t do print advertisements, we can’t do radio or billboards or anything like that,” Michael said. “We can advertise on our social media platforms, our website and in our store, and that’s it. There’s a lot of red tape involved.”

When you enter the store there is a menu of products available to choose from. The store sells around 300 different varieties of cannabis.

“From a customer’s perspective you have the option of ordering ahead of time,” Michael explained. “You can pay by credit card on our website, and we set your product aside for you. Or you can just walk in our store and browse around our menu or some of the products on our shelves.”

The staff have all been thoroughly trained through a government training course.

“We all had to be trained,” Catalina explained. “It’s similar to if you want to serve liquor in a bar – this is the equivalent. It’s a course you have to take and they teach all the rules in Ontario. They also teach you about the products you’re going to sell. It’s really in depth.”

“You want to be responsible to your customers,” Michael added.

The cannabis industry is a thriving enterprise in Canada with farms located across the country and more planning to open.

Customers are allowed to buy 30 grams per visit – that is also the legal limit you can carry with you.

After almost two months in business, both Michael and Catalina are pleased with the response they have received from customers, their business neighbors, and the town.

“We’ve had no problems at all,” Michael said. “We went to the Town Hall to get their blessing and we wanted to talk to them. They seemed to be really on board and they helped us out a lot. And the community has been very receptive.”

By Brian Lockhart
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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