The Apothecarium, a marijuana dispensary founded in San Francisco, opened its fourth store in Berkeley amid the COVID-19 pandemic last Friday.
Located at 2312 Telegraph Ave., The Apothecarium Berkeley has adapted its store to the pandemic, according to The Apothecarium spokesperson Eliot Dobris. He added that the dispensary is heavily focused on cannabis education and employees work hard to educate customers about different products and how to use these products safely.
“We’re creating a really safe and welcoming environment for seniors, for first-time visitors — for everyone really,” Dobris said.
During COVID-19, this also means making physical changes to the store, such as adding acrylic barriers, getting Apothecarium-branded masks and not providing sniff jars and printed menus, according to Dobris. He added that the store has shifted cannabis classes online and has a strict adherence to physical distancing and mask policies.
The Berkeley dispensary sells a variety of things such as edibles, vapes, extracts, topical balms and gear. With a large shift in popularity from vapes to edibles, The Apothecarium’s Valhalla gummies and chocolates have been “incredibly popular,” Dobris said.
Also well known for its upscale environment, the Castro location has been named the “best designed dispensary” in the country and the Berkeley location is “even nicer,” according to Dobris.
Many businesses in Berkeley and the country have been struggling, but The Apothecarium is determined to open as long as it was legal and safe to do so, Dobris said. Many customers who live in the East Bay had been going to the San Francisco stores, he added.
“There was always a really hard drive to open so we could serve people,” Dobris said. “People depend on us to get their medicine; people depend on us to have a safe way to relax during the crisis.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed normal opening celebrations, with The Apothecarium unable to throw an opening party with big crowds. Dobris said, however, online orders have quadrupled and The Apothecarium is pleased with the traffic it is receiving.
Early reception for the Berkeley store has been meeting expectations, Dobris added. He said traffic will also grow as the store is established.
“Especially in a moment when businesses all over the country and especially on Telegraph are struggling, it’s exciting to have a grand opening to celebrate,” said Berkeley City Councilmember Rigel Robinson. “The Apothecarium is a welcome new neighbor on the block.”