Tweed Main Street Celebrates First Birthday
As an e-commerce business operating in a strictly regulated environment, Tweed has learned to find unconventional ways of sharing its message with the community. Perhaps the crowning achievement of those efforts, Main Street has served to bridge the gap between patients and medical cannabis access in this country.
Different than, but similar to, a compassion club, Tweed Main Street is unique in this time and space for its ability to expedite access without illegally providing cannabis products to patients on-site. For that reason, Main Street has been embraced in the same communities where unlicensed dispensaries have (unfairly or not) been raided.
With Main Street shops in four cities across Southwestern Ontario – Guelph, Hamilton, Etobicoke and Barrie – Tweed is still the only licensed producer (LP) in the Canadian cannabis industry with a legal storefront presence. A year after the doors to the first shop opened, Tweed remains the only LP with a face-to-face customer service option.
“I think we’ve really bridged a gap that the system has missed in its development and given a space for people to have that direct contact with their producer,” says Theresa Kozak, Tweed Main Street Manager. “People walk by our shops and they see patients coming in for support. It’s de-stigmatizing who the medical patient is.”
Where she and her team have been most successful, says Kozak, is in “situating cannabis within the community.” While the internet has provided a viable, if detached, consumer option, Kozak believes cannabis knowledge is best passed on through osmosis and experience.
That message has started even to transcend the structures in which the shops are housed. Outside of serving patients looking to access medical cannabis, Tweed Main Street has plugged into the cities it operates in by launching and taking part in a number of charitable initiatives, A Taste For Life and Better Gear For The New Year among them.
By connected with the community and building in-roads for patients through unorthodox events like Herb & Cheese and the Cannabis Topical Lotions workshop, Kozak hopes Main Street can help to destigmatize cannabis in a society still somewhat unsure about the plant and its benefits.
“We pride ourselves on being a reliable and trusted resource in the community,” says Kozak. “We’ve established important relationships and we’ve been able to support people through a number of programs. The community outreach has been extremely rewarding.”
Founded in 2013 as a trio of cannabis clinics under the MedCannAccess name, the initial sites were coined Better Centres after being acquired by Tweed and, a year ago, rebranded Main Street to match its invigorated community presence. Where the model by which patients have connected to Kozak and her team has changed, she emphasizes that the mandate – patient education and access – hasn’t.
While Kozak concedes the fact Main Street’s model is contingent on looming new laws, she remains hopeful for a national presence and on-site distribution. Still, if new regulations stipulate she and her team can only continue to help patients on the frontlines fill out registrations, get connected to producers, better understand strains and dosage, and learn about innovations like capsules and transdermal patches – they’ll do so with a smile on.
“Depending on how the regulations permit us to operate, we’ll adapt,” she says. “Maybe it’s blind faith but I believe Tweed is so innovative that we will always find a way to maintain a presence in the community and to be able to be there for our clients who are needing support.”
Here’s to Future Growth!
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