Multi-state cannabis operator, The Botanist, puts consumer education at the center of its operations.
The company, which has 16 locations in five states, launched adult sales at its Montville, Connecticut, location on Jan. 10, marking the first day of adult sales.
While The Botanist is one of the first retailers to serve Connecticut’s adult market, it has already gained a foothold in the state by serving medical patients. The company’s team is excited about a bright future in the state’s adult use market, with an emphasis on educating and creating immersive experiences for consumers.
© Courtesy of Ashley Lynn Photography for The Botanist.
The botanist Montville.
The Botanist has two of nine hybrid licenses (medical and adult use) in Connecticut with its Montville and Danbury locations, and plans to launch adult sales at the Danbury store in the coming weeks, says Kate Nelson, senior vice president of Midwest and Northwest Regions for Acreage Holdings, owner of The Botanist brand.
Nelson says the company’s focus for the first day of sales was to ensure consumers had a positive and smooth experience.
“When a new program launches, we always expect there to be more traffic in the beginning, and that decreases over time,” she says. “I am confident that our team has done a phenomenal job. Even on the first day of sale, the longest wait was maybe 15 minutes. And that shows that with a lot of planning, preparation and proper execution, … even though we saw a lot of traffic on that first day, our wait times were not negatively affected, no more than on a normal day.”
Nelson says The Botanist also has a strong focus on creating immersive experiences for its consumers. For example, the company created a “botanist” in a tent in the store for the first day of adult sales.
“We saw on the first day of sales that a lot of operators expected that high traffic, so maybe they only offered online purchases, but then you limit that education,” she says. “For us, we wanted to make sure we didn’t do that so you could come in and talk to someone. We actually had a tent in front of the store … where we created a ‘Botanist in a tent’, so to speak, where you had the same experience with the elements of the brand, the plants, the chairs and all the things you would experience the store.”
The Botanist tent not only enabled the company to ensure a smooth flow on the first day of sales for adults, but also provided an immersive experience for consumers and enabled them to have more one-on-one time with budtenders , she says.
The company plans to use the adult-only launch in Montville as the basis for the Danbury location.
“Something we’re really proud of is how smooth and seamless the first day of sales went, and that’s something we can build a foundation on to make sure we go into the next adult launch for us in Connecticut. .. [we can] make sure someone’s first experience of visiting an adult pharmacy is such a positive one that they can’t wait to do it again,” Nelson says.
The Botanist is one of three Acreage brands. The company also operates a medical pharmacy in South Windsor, Connecticut, under the Prime Wellness brand. Nelson says the company plans to launch adult sales there once it receives the necessary local approvals.
Navigating the Adult Market in Connecticut
Connecticut’s program is “unique” compared to other states, which is why consumer education is so crucial, Nelson says. For example, she says the state has a “particularly low” purchase limit for adult consumers. Individuals 21 and older are limited to a quarter ounce of cannabis flower, or its equivalent, per transaction, Cannabis business times Previously reported.
That purchase limit is on the lower end compared to surrounding states for adult use. For example, New York allows individuals 21 and older to purchase up to three ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis for personal use, while Massachusetts allows adults 21 and older to purchase 1 ounce of flour or five grams of concentrate per transaction.
Nelson says several adult consumers in Connecticut didn’t fully understand purchasing limits, or for that matter, knew how much they could buy at one time. The Botanist makes it a priority to educate consumers about those thresholds, says Nelson.
“We’ve always been educators, and now we can educate and share information on a larger scale,” she says. “Our education is aimed at a larger population of the community in every area where we operate, because there are more people who can potentially benefit from cannabis. Our job is to make sure they understand what they can buy and what the rules are. We’re kind of experts in the field, so we need to be able to share that information with others so they too can make informed decisions for their health.
Another major nuisance to educate Connecticut cannabis consumers is the strain names in the state, as the law does not allow traditional strain names to be registered for any type of advertising purpose.
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For example, a popular generic name such as “Gorilla Glue” or “Wedding Cake” used to represent a product in another state would be advertised as a different generic name in Connecticut, even though the product may be completely identical.
“All Connecticut products are like a Connecticut custom name that most consumers have never heard of,” says Nelson. “So for the first purchase, they really rely on the information that a member of staff can share with them because most people don’t put any tension on the [Connecticut] menu. [Typically,] it’s something they may have read about on Leafly, heard of before, or tried from another adult program.”
The Botanist conducts weekly product and species training to ensure that information is clearly communicated to consumers.
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“Within our stores, we also do our very best to provide as much information as possible about the products,” she says. “While we may not be able to share those real strain names externally, our staff have all the documentation on each product and receive weekly training to learn about all the new products coming to the store so that everything guests would look at it. questions, they can really talk to it from the point they know all there is to know from the seller who provided it to us, so we’re experts at this and we want to help take people on the journey.
The Botanist also hosts virtual educational events for patients and consumers to educate them on various topics such as the state market, pain management tips, and much more.
The company recently hosted a virtual webinar on pain management, where one of its pharmacists and a doctor discussed how to manage pain with cannabis, Nelson says.
“We’ve been running these webinars for a while now, but obviously now have a larger audience that can learn from them,” she says. “So that’s definitely one of the benefits we can bring to the community. And we’ll continue to do this and really focus on how focused we are on sharing that educational piece.
As the adult-use market continues to grow in Connecticut, Nelson says The Botanist will continue to work with the state and other operators to highlight areas of the program that can be improved.
In addition, The Botanist aims to offer consumers the same experiences at all its locations.
“I expect more centralization of the procedures and the processes and the experiences that we have so that the people who shop in Montville and Danbury don’t have a different experience than those who shop in South Windsor,” she said. say. “And the same is the case for, say, our pharmacies in Maine and Illinois, which may not be under The Botanist brand right now, but we still want to focus on those same core tenants of what makes us and continue to harmonize those operations.”
The company is excited to serve adult patients on the eastern side of Connecticut through its Montville location and looks forward to serving customers in the western part of the state through its Danbury location, she says.
“We are excited to announce that adult use is here, sharing more about how it works and what people should know, and hopefully helping to continue to destigmatize cannabis as something accessible through the state system, reliable and tracked , and a really safe alternative for people who traditionally use the [illicit] market,” she says.