TerraLeaf, a Pennsylvania-based female-owned cannabis operator has expanded to West Virginia to open a new education center in Huntington, West Virginia, which will provide cannabis education to employees the company and the community at large.
The 5,000 square foot education center hosted a VIP ribbon cutting ceremony on December 6 ahead of its open house and grand opening to the public on December 7. It’s located next to TerraLeaf’s medical cannabis dispensary, which has been deemed operational by the state, but currently has no products to sell as the company waits for West Virginia growers to have cannabis available for sale. basically.
“As you know there is a huge stigma around cannabis use, so our goal when we go into a community is to educate, educate, educate,” said the founder of TerraLeaf, Chris Visco. Cannabis business time and Cannabis dispensary. “We teach people about the plant. “
TerraLeaf opened its first cannabis education center in Pennsylvania, where the company holds two medical cannabis licenses and currently operates three dispensaries. TerraLeaf has 45,000 unique patients at its three sites, Visco said, and the company built a training center when it expanded its offices.
“It’s really important in every community to go talk to local elected officials first, talk to the police, talk to the fire department,” said Visco. “They are all invited to our education center whenever they want to come.”
Staff at the Education Center lead presentations on dispensary safety measures, for example, as well as how cannabis companies can help build communities. The center’s ultimate goal, Visco said, is to raise awareness of the responsible use of medical cannabis, help potential patients become registered patients in the state, and provide assistance to those seeking their medical cannabis card.
The education center also runs courses on cannabinoids and terpenes and educates TerraLeaf employees about state cannabis regulations and patient care.
Visco said opening an education center in West Virginia was important to her to help teach the community how cannabis can be an alternative to opioids.
“We have an opioid crisis in the United States,” she said. “West Virginia, of any state, has the highest per capita opioid overdose in the country. Huntington has the most overdoses per capita in the state. We are needed here. We are here to save lives, to keep people away from prescription drugs, but more importantly, to stop them from buying things on the streets that contain fentanyl that kill people. I spent a lot of time there in the community, talking to people, and the stories are just heartbreaking. “
Through its education center, TerraLeaf is working to end the stigma of cannabis, added Visco. “A lot of times you will have someone who is addicted, and their family members won’t let them use cannabis because they think it enhances the addiction. But the reality is, marijuana has no physical property. addictive We use it as an exit drug.
Company officials have met with the mayor and members of city council and, so far, the community of Huntington has hosted TerraLeaf, Visco said.
“Everyone is really excited about the opportunity this brings medically, but also our job is to help develop the community,” she said. “We will be spending time in food banks, homeless shelters, opioid addiction treatment centers and senior care homes, educating and supporting the community. “
TerraLeaf plans to create 30 to 35 jobs in Huntington, and the company offers competitive salaries starting at $ 16 an hour for entry-level positions. TerraLeaf also offers medical insurance, a 401k plan, and disability and life insurance to its employees.
Trulieve is currently the only licensed medical cannabis grower in West Virginia that has a product available, and Visco said more growers need to get up and running and wholesale to dispensaries across the state before TerraLeaf and others. retailers can acquire an adequate supply of products for patients.
“It’s a definite concern,” Visco said. “Each producer has their own dispensary. The state has over-fired. There are 100 dispensaries and 10 producers. So if these growers don’t have to sell to someone else, there could be a lot of dispensaries open in West Virginia that never have anything to sell.
As the market balances, TerraLeaf continues to welcome patients to its education center to keep the conversation going around medical cannabis.
“Once we get the product established in the market, we would definitely be interested in some kind of expansion, but we’re just waiting and seeing where things go,” Visco said. “Obviously, 100 dispensaries cannot open in a state of 1.9 million people. We’re looking to see where this goes and ultimately hopefully we’ll fully legalize in West Virginia and that it fixes a lot of the issues there with the product supply and the patient population. “
In the meantime, TerraLeaf continues to seek cannabis licenses in other markets. The company has obtained licenses in Illinois and New Jersey and has pending applications in Illinois and Ohio. TerraLeaf is also in the process of applying for licenses in Connecticut, as well as additional licenses in New Jersey.
Visco said the company plans to open a training center in each market it enters, and Visco also founded a non-profit organization in 2019 called VOWD TerraVida to help support victims of the war on drugs.
“They can work side by side to educate people about the racist principles of the cannabis ban and how African Americans are disproportionately incarcerated compared to others and then they are excluded from the cannabis industry.” in many states, ”says Visco.