Tucked behind a quadrant of unassuming business hotels just off I-70 in the small town on Springfield, you’ll see a brand new building that appears rather out of place in Ohio. Approaching the Terrasana Cannabis Co. at 183 Raydo Circle, you’ll also notice ample parking with rock landscaping, a design aesthetic that’s far more commonplace in Southwest Arizona than Southwest Ohio. The structure, too, is modern with brown industrial steel beams wrapped with horizontal planks of sleek wooden siding. The company’s aqua and white hexagonal logo is proudly displayed on the front of the building and also imprinted on both sets of entrance doors.
The Springfield location, situated in a rural area compared to Terrasana’s Cleveland and Columbus sites, was a strategic choice. Like its Fremont location (about 35 miles from Toledo and 25 miles from Sandusky), the Springfield store will give Ohioans who live outside a major city a chance to get needed medicine from Terrasana instead of having to drive long distances to access dispensaries in nearby towns. Springfield sits approximately 45 miles west of Columbus and 25 miles northeast of Dayton in Montgomery County, an area that CNBC called ground zero for the opioid crisis in the United States.
While many of the largest expos and events for cannabis education have thus far occurred in northern and central areas of the state, Terrasana’s owners chose to open locations in areas like Fremont and Springfield because they could foresee the valuable impact that could be made outside of city limits in Ohio, explained Emilie Ramach, Director of Community Outreach for Terrasana
“Part of what we’re trying to do here at Terrasana is be the bridge and open up communication, educating those geographical regions that may or may not be aware that there is a program. So we’re really just kind of extending out into those areas,” Ramach said.
On the day of its opening (Thursday, July 25th, 2019), a crew of excited employees greeted their first patients at the doors. At all four of Terrasana’s Ohio locations, they try to hire as many staff that are local to the area surrounding the dispensary as possible, not brought in from other states or locations. At the Springfield location, all employees are Springfield residents, with the exception of one employee who lives in Dayton.
In addition to being local, the staff are almost all “card-carrying” Ohio medical marijuana patients themselves. Having the card and using marijuana gives our staff members a better ability to offer reliable information, product knowledge, and useful advice that’s invaluable to patients who come in seeking advice, Ramach said. Their patient-centric attitude is apparent in all aspects of the dispensary, especially in their community outreach efforts:
“We’re really focusing on patient education and really closing the communication gaps between the cultivators,” she said. “The dispensary is bringing a lot of those phases out for the public to be able to see, ask questions, and learn where their medicine comes from.”
Terrasana will offer an educational series for dispensary-to-patient conversations which they are calling “TerraTalks.” The hour-long coffeehouse-style discussions are currently available at the Fremont location, but will soon be available at all locations, including Springfield. The talks are promoted as low-key and informal, centering around transparency of Ohio’s MMJ program and providing answers to patient questions.
“We let them know different qualifications, regulations, about Ohio’s program itself, what to expect, and so on,” Ramach said. She went on to explain that it is not just about answering questions about access, stipulations, and quality—it’s an opportunity to build relationships with their patients’ communities. “I usually bring the faces of the shop out to the public, so they can ask them any questions that they may have.”
Counseling Patients Who Are New To Cannabis
Like many dispensaries in Ohio, Terrasana’s MMJ patients’ ages average between 40 and 69. Ramach said about half of these people have never tried cannabis, a quarter are seasoned but learning about medical use, and the remaining group have probably not used it in years. To ensure these patients are well cared for, Terrasana keeps their consultant-to-patient ratio at 1-to-1.
Terrasana offers a variety of products for registered Ohio MMJ patients, including flower, vapor, and edibles. Their product selection features hybrids, sativas, and indica varieties that have both high and moderate levels of THC (“Tier 1” and “Tier 2”) as well as products from the marijuana plant that have been formulated with high levels of CBD. The store will always carry a one-to-one CBD, which is a great starter for a lot of people since it can treat a wide range of symptoms without the high of THC, said General Manager Shawn Fredericks.
In addition to live resin, their vapor selection will also soon feature Ohio’s first cartridges. For now, their edible selection is limited to two brands of gummies, but their team has plans to purchase a wider variety of edibles and other products as quickly as cultivators are able to produce them and offer them to the dispensaries.
Supply and Demand Challenges
Of the 30 cultivators who have been granted provisional licenses to operate in Ohio, only 18 have been granted actual certificates to operate and/or have begun to operate and grow cannabis. This lack of supply can make it particularly difficult for a patient who wants to replicate good results if they cannot come back to their local dispensary and get the same strain each time. But the Terrasana team hopes to combat this challenge by keeping its focus on helping the patient to make the most informed choices possible for the medicinal marijuana.
Due to the short supply of products in Ohio right now, Ramach echoed that this is really where the dispensary’s patient care consultants play a key role in educating customers. By showing patients how to take control of their own health and start a journal of what strains work for them, then the dispensary can help to identify a similar strain if the strain that works best isn’t available.
“Not necessarily the name of the strain, but you need to pay attention to what the THC levels were, what the CBD levels were. So that way, when you come back, you know exactly what worked for you. And if we may not necessarily have that specific strain available, we can recommend a product that exactly parallels with what the THC and CBD percentages were in that product.”
Fredericks explained how Terrasana Springfield is changing up their process from the other three Ohio stores in order to provide a more thorough yet streamlined patient experience. “We do one-on-one patient consulting,” Fredericks said, explaining that new patients are greeted at the front desk when they arrive, get checked into the system, and are assigned to a patient consultant.
“We have a brief discussion on what symptoms you have and what you’re looking for. If you kind of have a general idea what you already know that you need, we can go a little bit quicker with the process, but we like to try to find out what works best for you, go over any different questions,” Fredericks said.
Terrasana’s Springfield dispensary is located at 183 Raydo Circle and is open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m
Ohioans who would like to purchase cannabis from Terrasana need to register for their medical marijuana card. The fee for a MMJ card varies based on doctor and location, and can range from $150 up to $400 in some areas, including both the doctor’s fee and the state’s fee, which is $50 for patients or $25 for caregivers.