“We’re proud to serve”
City Cannabis Co is one of the most popular legal-cannabis chains in Vancouver with three locations. COVID-19 has forced them to rethink their business model. With a store that relies so much on touching, they’ve had to go back to the drawing board.
The typical cannabis-store-experience has gone out the window. They no longer touch ID cards. Customers must hold them up at a distance for the consultants. Your visit is encouraged to be brief and worth leaving your house for.
One of the coolest features in their stores are the smell-jars. The jars give you a magnified view of all the different flowers and their trichomes. Hundreds of people flow in and out each day touching the jars and press their noses near the opening to get a good sniff. This has become problematic due to the risk of contracting the virus. City Cannabis has now banned the touching of their smell jars in an attempt to decrease the risk of spreading.
The staff wear masks and gloves at all times for their own protection. Also, the staff ring up sales via iPads that need constant disinfecting.
Social interaction with customers is key for a cannabis consultant, but now the staff must keep their distance. This has made sales more difficult because a large portion of their customers are new-comers with a lot of questions. It can be awkward making a sale from six feet away sometimes.
COVID-19 has not only affected the culture of their stores, it has affected their business too. According to employee Tom Rothmeier, some staff members have refused to come to work in these conditions. Tom has to work at the Robson location and the Cambie location as a result.
Despite being open, the staff understand it’s still a risk to come into their stores. They have a shared frustration towards customers who buy small quantities on a regular basis instead of stocking up. They strongly feel people should be buying for extended periods of time, so they don’t keep coming in and out of the store. This would decrease the risk of spreading and benefit customers and staff.
Declaring cannabis stores as an “essential business” is controversial because of the criminal history involving the substance. Imagine you served time in jail because of marijuana when it was illegal, and now the government is declaring it a top priority. How would you feel?
While it’s important to remember the injustice surrounding cannabis, it’s crucial to recognize the medical aspect as well. City Cannabis is recreational, but many customers still purchase for medical reasons. Pain management is a main use of cannabis, and people often use it as alternative to prescription pills. If the stores were closed down, a large population would be alienated.
The staff are aware of the stigma surrounding the industry, but they see the bigger picture. Helping people safely select legal cannabis is important to them during these times. City Cannabis is proud to stay open if it offers customers stability during the pandemic.
“We’re working hard to keep you safe!”