Q&A with Spiritleaf West Kelowna

Published on December 28, 2019 by David Wylie

We talked with Spiritleaf West Kelowna owner Mike Adams about life, cannabis and other things.

What’s been going through your head over the last couple of days as you got ready to open?

It’s been wild. I’ve had to stop and look at the whole thing because of the totality of it. I’ve been caught in such a whirlwind of trying to make this happen that I haven’t really had a chance to sit back and enjoy what we’ve put together yet. Once things calm down and things get normalized we’ll be able to do that — but right now it’s a little surreal.

What are your expectations with edibles and what are you looking forward to?

We’ve been getting a ton of calls in the last week, people inquiring when we’re opening and what products we’re going to have. The No. 1 call we’re getting right now is definitely for edibles… a little bit on the vape side of things, too, but more on the edibles. There’s a lot of buzz around that right now, and for us it’s a great time to come into the business because of those 2.0 products. There are a lot of people who aren’t interested in smoking it — but they’re open to eating it and getting the effects that way. I think that’s one reason why it’s going to be so popular.

What are you telling people to get them to visit the store?

It really is, for some adults, like being a kid in a candy store. ‘This one’s got a blueberry note to it or this one’s got a spice note to it’ — I think that makes it fun and I think that’s what makes it interesting. There are so many more options. How can you not get excited?

Why did you decide to jump into cannabis retail?

I came from a martial arts background and was fighting in professional mixed martial arts. I got into cannabis through medical reasons; I had some bad injuries and medical cannabis did quite a bit for me. It kept me off the harmful opiods. I started researching it and when this industry changed and things became legal I started looking into it.

How did cannabis help you through injuries?

It’s a rough sport, a ton of contact, and I had some bad injuries. I had a neck injury that caused a ton of nerve pain. I was on opiates for about two to three weeks, and I just felt awful. I was fogged out. A family member of mine said ‘try this out’ and he had a medical licence so I got into a bit. There’s so much information out there as far as athletes using it. When I started using it I felt a big difference in using medical cannabis versus pharmaceutical drugs. It was hard not to be convinced when you feel the effects. More and more as the stigma’s lifted, people are more open to talk about their experiences.

How did you go about opening a store?

I researched some reputable companies and Spiritleaf was one that stuck out to me. I purchased a franchise, rolled the dice, and we tried to do all the steps correctly along the way — it took us to this day. It was obviously challenging, and there were some rollercoasters of emotions, but we stuck to our guns and stayed committed.

What trends do you think you’re going to see in 2020?

We’re going to see the continuation of 2.0 products as they come out. We’ll see better products and a larger variety. I think we’re really going to see a lot of products that suit people who are curious and maybe haven’t been users in the past. It’s going to go a lot more mainstream with these types of products coming out.

What strategies are you using to separate yourselves from others stores?

One thing that Spiritleaf the brand is all about is creating a really welcoming customer experience for anybody that comes to the door. That’s what we’re trying to create here, make connections with the customers. We’re local. I live in West Kelowna. I’ve lived here for a long time. I’ve already got a lot of friends and family who live in the community so I want to continue serving them, and having that face-to-face relationship with people.

— writer David Wylie is publisher of the oz.