Stick & Stone Cannabis first customer Barrie Elliott (middle) stands with Sarah-Jane Nelson and Dennis Schafer at the grand opening of the Fernie shop, Sunday. James Snell/The Free Press

Independent cannabis store blazing uncharted trails in Fernie

Stick & Stone Cannabis Co., in Fernie opened its doors and welcomed its first customer on Sunday – although the grand opening celebration will be held around September 22.

Located in the old Stop & Shop off Highway 3, Stick & Stone features not only the licensed cannabis store with 151 strains of cannabis, but also a lounge where individuals can sit by a fireplace to converse and participate in educated cannabis culture.

Former Fernie councillor and co-owner Dennis Schafer says the shop will be focused on promoting small batch, B.C. grown cannabis by producers such as Tantalus Labs (Vancouver), Broken Coast Cannabis (Ladysmith), Whistler Medical Marijuana Company (Whistler), and others.

Schafer is determined to create an open, anxiety-free customer experience.

“I want the future to be destigmatized,” said the former predentistry student and father. “Some people are afraid to walk through the doors for fear of being seen.”

“Stick & Stone is going to be a hub of education,” he said. “We’re going to host panel discussions, community engagement pieces, bring in some heavy hitters.”

The two and a half year journey to opening Stick & Stone Cannabis Co. has seen a few challenges, but co-owner and registered nurse Sarah-Jane Nelson, has resolved to stay positive.

“It was a challenge to find a bank that would work with us,” she explained. “I think it’s because the main banks have their headquarters in the United States…and there was a 10 month delay in receiving a license.”

Nelson, who has been using medicinal cannabis as needed to treat symptoms associated with a chronic illness, said that cannabis products are on a vast spectrum of physical and psychoactive effects. She’s keen to educate customers.

“If you come in, you can make an informed choice about the strength and potency,” she said. “How can you have a good experience if you can’t make an informed choice? Where do you want to start? Just like alcohol, you don’t drink an entire bottle of whiskey and think that is a great first experience.”

Nelson compared the historical criminality of cannabis to the prohibition era.

“It’s just such a huge gift for society to move out of something that was once illegal and punishable by law,” she explained.

Barrie Elliott was Stick & Stone Cannabis Co.’s first customer. She is relieved to have another responsible and informed local cannabis supplier in Fernie.

“This shop is going to contribute so much to education in this town,” she said. “This means more choices to learn about what I like, instead of just getting cannabis from someone where I don’t know about the THC / CBD balance.”

While speaking with The Free Press last year, both Schafer and Nelson expressed their gratitude towards everyone, including the owners of the building, who have been supportive and accommodating as they worked to make their business a reality.

Stick & Stone Cannabis Co. is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., daily. To participate in the grand opening celebration, please contact the shop at 250-423-8718.

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