Capturing Eden owner Stephen Barber said he wants to help a community grappling with opioid use with his new medical cannabis assessment clinic opening Saturday.
The store is located on 192 Highland St. It will have medical staff to provide the necessary assessment to get medical cannabis.
The location will also feature a full line of hemp products but will sell no cannabis on site.
Barber said he chose Haliburton as the first location for a planned line of stores due to its high rate of opioid use.
A 2016 study from the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network found in 2015, Haliburton County had the second highest rate of opioid users in the province.
“Many individuals are curious about augmenting their current care needs with cannabis or actually trying to stop addictions, such as opioids,” Barber said. “People currently in Haliburton are travelling 1.5 to two hours just to get medical cannabis assessments.”
“We want to make a point to become an integral part of the community,” he added.
Barber said the clinic will have two full-time and two part-time staff to start, although he hopes the business can grow to add more.
Medical staff will offer the assessments, with those who qualify being directed to a licenced cannabis provider to get the product.
A pharmacist will also be available to help clients learn how to use the product properly, Barber said.
“We know that they are underserviced already because they have a lack of physicians to be able to go for advice or to find a proper substance,” Barber said. “This way they can come right to us and look to discuss their needs.”
The hemp products include medications and soaps.
Recreational cannabis on the horizon
Barber said he also plans to sell recreational cannabis once the province allows it.
At present, it has been regulated that until there are more than 25 retail store authorizations in Ontario in municipalities with more than 50,000 people, none may be issued in places with less than that.
Barber said he renovated the building in a way to meet the requirements for recreational cannabis. But he added he wants to build a reputation before pursuing it.
“We would like to develop a relationship not only with the citizens of the area but with the community as a whole,” Barber said. “Once we’ve established our roots there and our credibility, then we would look at that.”
Barber said he presented before Dysart council about the store.
Mayor Andrea Roberts said the store did not need any new zoning approvals and council wishes the owners well.
Barber said cannabis is beneficial to help treat some conditions and relieve pain.
“It is not addictive as per opioids. That’s why in an opioid over abuse area, cannabis is a good alternative because it actually helps people wean themselves off of opioids,” Barber said.
“We truly plan to help the community,” Barber said.