The Botanist is at 3840 Greentree Ave. SW.
CANTON Sleek wood floors and display cases with grinders and vaporizers will greet patients who enter The Botanist dispensary.
The unassuming building at 3840 Greentree Ave. SW visible from Interstate 77 will be the first of five dispensaries owned by Greenleaf Apothecaries to open at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Regular hours will be noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
"Welcome to The Botanist," Greenleaf CEO Dave Neundorfer said Tuesday, his voice echoing in the local retail room.
There's ample room to walk between an ATM along one wall (sales are cash-only), the three display cases and a "seed bar" against the opposite wall. Patients can see a menu and learn more about the product and accessories at the bar, but all dispensary agents can answer questions, Neundorfer said.
"We are here to help educate," he said. "We want it to be a welcoming, warm space for our community."
Product will be limited to the cannabis flower for initial sales because of limited cultivation, processing and testing operations, but the dispensary will receive a continual supply for the next few days, said Chief Operating Officer Kate Nelson.
Before a patient or caregiver passes through two sets of locked doors to the retail room, they'll show a state medical card through the front door's video conferencing system and sign in at the front desk. A pharmacist, who has training but not a state certificate to recommend cannabis, will be on hand to provide consultations.
"Basically, this is where we'll really understand what their needs are and then document all that information before they go into the next space," Nelson said.
Patients will receive a booklet with information about cannabis and the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program and a section to record treatment.
Neundorfer said an on-site pharmacist is not a state requirement but will be offered at all of The Botanist dispensaries. Columbus, Cleveland, Akron and Wickliffe dispensaries are expected to open within the first quarter of this year.
Greenleaf, which partnered with Acreage Holdings — a multi-state operator that owns The Botanist retail brand, also has a cultivation and processing facility in Middlefield.
"Safety and security are, obviously, our primary concerns for our patients," Neundorfer said.
While the public can enter the main lobby of a dispensary, only cardholding patients or caregivers can enter the room where cannabis products are sold. The "fully trained" and fully staffed Canton dispensary will limit retail room capacity to eight people, allowing each person to take their time and ask questions, Neundorfer said.
The checkout counter, where product samples will be featured, has four registers. Decorative plants in clear vases line the back wall.
Nelson said the process will be streamlined and similar to that at a regular pharmacy.
Cards will be checked again, and people can wait in a lounge area while orders are filled. They'll be called to pick up their paper bag and ushered out a separate exit.
"It's kind of a one-way ticket," Nelson said.
Patients and caregivers with qualifying conditions can purchase up to a "90-day supply," determined by the form and THC content of cannabis, through the state program. Eventually, other state-approved forms of cannabis (edibles, oils and creams) and Botanist-branded products will be available.
Caroline Henry, chief compliance and communications officer for Greenleaf, said media will not be allowed in the dispensary for the first day of sales to ensure a a comfortable environment for patients or caregivers.
"And we do ask that patients be patient because there might be long lines," she said.
More information about the state program can be found at www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov and The Botanist at www.shopbotanistohio.com.
Reach Kelly at 330-580-8323
On Twitter: @kbyerREP