Penticton's very first licensed Cannabis shop opened on August 10th at 2695 Skaha Lake Road and there was a line of eager folks waiting for that door to open!
I got the chance to pop in there on the second day and chat quickly with Matthew, one of the franchise owners about the first couple days. As you can imagine there's a mix of pure excitement and anxiety as all your preparations are ACTUALLY in motion, it's a big deal for any entrepreneur!
Read below to learn more about Matthew Bolton of Spiritleaf Penticton!
What is your history with Cannabis?
My history with cannabis started a little later than most of my friends, however seemed to always be around it and enjoying the aromas of my friends while I just hung out not partaking. I grew up in a household where my father smoked cigarettes, and proud to say he’s now quit for almost a decade, but with that, at a very young age said I would never smoke. I’ve held true to that having never touched a cigarette in my life, but once I moved out of the house and began University away from home I was introduced to cannabis on another level with a roommate and began fascinated with the plant and its consumption. We started to grow a couple of plants in our closet to provide cannabis to the couple of us that lived together, being that we were poor broke University students and couldn’t afford to pay lol. Once we grew our first set of “babies”, seeing the different stages, colours and smells I just fell in love and knew it was something I would be involved with for life whether it was just the after work relaxing consumption instead of a beer, with the hopes of someday seeing this dream of being involve with the legal cannabis business.
What made you decide to get into the industry?
The opportunity to get involved with legal cannabis on the forefront was all I needed. To help pave the path for people to realize cannabis isn’t this big bad drug some have stereotyped it out to be, by providing an in-store experience and feel that can hopefully change that. So having that passion for cannabis along with previous business experience, it made for a quick no brainer decision to transition over.
What has been the biggest challenge in getting your shop opened?
The biggest challenge to getting the shop open was persevering the lengthy time periods of unknowns, just waiting while holding down the required lease and expenses that come along with it. Now however, the biggest challenge is waiting for employees to gain provincial approval to work, so are making it work with 2 full time employees, one being myself, and 1 part time employee helping whenever she can.
How long has the whole process taken?
My brother and I first started our process transitioning into the cannabis business mid-October 2017 when we decided to list our current business. We signed our franchise agreement at the start of December after a couple of months exploring the route we were going to take while entering this exciting new business. However, due to what the province was requiring for an application, we took about a month to complete and finally able to submit early October, just a couple weeks prior to legalization. So, our entire process took us much longer, but from application submission to opening the doors, it was 11 months.
What excites you the most about Cannabis?
The most exciting part of cannabis now to me, is observing how the rest of society is receiving it and the views changing to be more socially accepted. I am very excited to see where this industry goes over the course of the next five years, not only here, but how Canada and the great cannabis community represents this budding new industry that will impact other countries, and hopefully leading other countries to follow suit using us (Canada) as the pioneer.
What is your preferred strain and method of consumption?
I tend to lean a lot more towards the sativa and CBD strains myself, Blue Dream and Great
White Shark right now are tops on my list. I always have been, and always will be a joint guy. Not to say I don’t enjoy the other consumption methods, as I do, but there’s just something about the process at the end of the day I love - breaking it up, rolling and relaxing outside on the balcony enjoying with some music, or sounds of nature.
What is your favourite munchie food?
Popcorn! Easy answer.