Open for Business
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest, and at Elevation 2477’ education is at the center of its business model.
Elevation 2477’, Nevada County’s first and only medical cannabis dispensary, opened its doors to local patients in late August, nearly nine months after first being selected as the only dispensary in the city for the first year.
“It was worth the wait,” said Jonathan Hogander, CFO of Elevation 2477’. “We were able to create a model facility that addresses the concerns of the community and provides access to patients.”
The idea of making employees educational resources is not a new one, but Elevation 2477’ owners believe their business can begin changing the stigma attached to not just the plant, but an entire industry.
As one of the first licensed business in Nevada County, Hogander said the business focused on having a robust security and odor mitigation plan, good relationships with neighboring businesses and ensuring that all product comes from licensed distributors and manufacturers that abide by the state’s quality control and laboratory testing rules.
“We also wanted to be able to understand the complex needs of our patients and recommend a product, dose and delivery method they would feel comfortable with.” said founder and CEO Daniel Batchelor. “It’s about empowering people to make choices about what brings them balance and wellness. What makes them feel better.”
At Elevation 2477’, employees, or Wellness Associates, have completed courses with educational resources such as the Trichome Institute and The Cannabis Training Institute. They receive weekly emails about new studies and findings, and articles on the latest trends in the industry and are encouraged to pursue continuing educational opportunities.
“A friend mentioned the term Wellness Associate and we thought it fit in perfectly with what we were trying to do,” Batchelor said.
Medical cannabis patients are increasingly older and often lack the knowledge to navigate the task of choosing a product that’s right for them. The recent legalization of cannabis, coupled with a national de-stigmatization of the plant, have prompted many to seek cannabis for alleviating conditions such as chronic pain, diabetes, fibromyalgia or arthritis, treating symptoms associated with chemotherapy and radiation, or other digestive illnesses.
Elevation 2477’ carries products like transdermal patches, sublingual sprays and topicals –all products highly sought after by an older demographic. There is also a growing younger demographic of patients interested in specific strains, as well as potency and terpene content.
“A lot of research and development has gone into coming up with products that are accessible to people new to cannabis,” Hogander said. “Products come with more information about cannabinoid and terpene content than ever before. And that’s also attractive to more seasoned users.”
The dispensary also features a separate community room with patient-led support groups, classes and workshops on cannabis for seniors, cannabis for pain management, finding the right dosage, cooking with cannabis and CBD science. The community room will also host local alternative healing practitioners such as herbalists and massage therapists to offer their services to patients.
The idea of making employees educational resources is not a new one, but Batchelor said with the Medical-only designation, making education a core value was as much about giving access to people new to cannabis as it was about making it work in a limited market.
In addition to the educational component, Elevation 2477’ is an inviting place — clean and sleek, the kind of store you can bring your mother to. The elegant space is decked with reclaimed wood and glass display cases, refurbished concrete floors and ample lighting. The Chambers Project, a local art gallery nearby, lent an impressive collection of art that features the work of artists like Mars-1, Oliver Vernon, Damon Soule, the legendary Ralph Steadman and Justin Lovato, who also painted the Grass Valley mural on Main Street.
Nevada City took a measured approach to allowing dispensary operations by only choosing one dispensary for the first year and by making it a medical-only dispensary. Elevation’s owners said they welcomed the move and created a plan that was in alignment with the city’s vision. However, the Medical-only designation hasn’t come without hurdles. Patients who didn’t see the need to renew their physician recommendations once California voters approved Adult Use are turned away daily, Batchelor said.
The state of California no longer makes a differentiation between Adult Use and Medical cannabis products since there is no difference in the way they are grown or manufactured. Out of more than 500 licensed dispensaries in the state, only about 24 are medical only.
“When the city decides it wants to open it up to the adult market our focus will still be on education,” Batchelor said. “Even recreational users want to be able to learn how to best take advantage of the benefits of cannabis, just like more and more people want to know how nutrition and what they eat can make them feel better.”
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