Marijuana Business Magazine July 2019

July 2019 | 129 customers and attracts thousands of new patients—all while striving to become an integral part of the Ann Arbor community. “Om is a symbol of us all being one,” said Lisa Conine, Om’s community outreach coordinator. “The owners chose that name to represent a new way of approaching medicine and business.” Location, Location With its large “Om” mandala logo prominently affixed upon its front window, the business has a street-level, Main Street storefront surrounded by trendy cafes and posh boutiques. Many of Ann Arbor’s major arteries lead to the area, and the swank loca- tion underscores the dispensary’s arrival as an established member of the business community. It also provides ease of public access and facilitates community involvement, such as hosting cultural events. “We wanted to be in the center of the town. We wanted to use (location) as a piece to break down the stigma,” Conine, said. “We (also) do that as a way to be completely invested in the downtown life and the Ann Arbor community.” Creating satellite locations to expand patient access and entering Michigan’s new recreational marijuana market are also on Om’s agenda. Active Community Participant Om participates in the local community in several ways. The dispensary, for example, is a member of the Main Street Area Association, an affiliation that enables building relationships with neighboring businesses. Om also hosts music, art and educational events in its large lounge. Such events help reduce the stigma of cannabis use and raise public awareness about treatment options, according to the company. They also serve to attract new customers. “About half the attendees bring guests with them who are not mem- bers of our establishment,” Conine said, adding that Om tracks retention of those newcomers via a member- ship app that indicates how they learned about the dispensary. From Marginal to Medical Om’s operations also have medical and scientific components that engage the local community. The Om of Medicine has dedicated three rooms for private consulta- tions with a doctor the dispensary retains to provide free, confidential medical advice. The doctor is “on staff to help patients with the more nuanced questions of really challenging medical ailments—or someone who is just completely brand new (to cannabis) and terrified,” Conine said. The doctor also keeps a medical file on each patient to track ongoing treatment needs and compile data for research purposes. In 2015, for example, Om collaborated with the Ann Arbor- based University of Michigan by contributing data to a medical journal study detailing a link between cannabis and decreased opiate use. Conine said two additional studies, one of which will examine a standardized approach to patient dosing, are also in the works with the university. Om dedicates three rooms such as the one at right for private patient consultations with a medical doctor. Photo at right by Ana Gomulka