Sunrise prides itself as Connoisseur’s Choice
(This article is sponsored by Sunrise Wellness Foundation.)
The local cannabis industry sometimes comes under criticism for not following the rules. Unlicensed shops continue operating in various parts of Metro Vancouver, sometimes paying huge fines to remain in business. And this can irritate its neighbours.
Not Sunrise Wellness Foundation. One of its managing directors, Walter Sorto, says the organization will always comply with municipal and, eventually, provincial bylaws.
“We will only operate within the bounds,” Sorto insists. “We embrace regulation. We wouldn’t operate if there weren’t regulations.”
There are two Sunrise Wellness dispensaries in Vancouver—one at 258 West Broadway and the other at 2943 Kingsway. Sorto said the company’s mission is to provide safe access to high-quality products made from cannabis produced by B.C. growers. These include creams, tinctures, capsules, and other derivatives.
“Our motto is ‘The Connoisseur’s Choice’,” Sorto says. “We pride ourselves in that. We carry flowers and extracts that no one else will carry.”
For example, Sunrise Wellness carries flowers and extracts from some of B.C.’S best producers, such as Brindle Farms, RPM, Temple of Calyx, Heavenly Daze, and Concentratedex.
Sorto adds, “Once we are allowed to buy from LPS, we hope to add flowers from the likes of Tantalus Labs as well.
“When you come into our dispensary, it’s going to be clean,” Sorto promises. “It’s going to be transparent. It’s going to be welcoming. Our staff are knowledgeable. They’re friendly. We want to get to know you on a first-name basis.”
Staff training and education set Sunrise Wellness apart from other dispensaries. Training includes participating in Cannareps Workshops, a training mentorship program focused on understanding cannabis products, as well as the role and the ethics of providing access to cannabis.
Sunrise Wellness is a member of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD), which is a nonprofit promoting a regulated community-based approach. It emphasizes that dispensaries must be transparent and follow best practices to provide the highest standard of care.
Sorto points out that being transparent is one of the best ways to improve the reputation of cannabis dispensaries. The “canna-curious”, as he calls them, are welcome to drop by and staff will explain how different products are used. Sunrise Wellness also provides “Cannabis Basics,” a monthly, handson workshop for those seeking more in-depth knowledge about cannabis and its many uses.
“One of the first things we want to do is actually understand why they’re coming in,” he reveals. “What brought them in? What conditions are they trying to manage? What experiences have they had in the past?
“By asking these questions, we can understand why they want to use cannabis,” Sorto continues. “Then we can better inform them of the choices that they can make.”
If people simply state they want an indica or sativa, staff will inquire about what effect they’re seeking. This can come through the following questions: “Do you need it for sleep? Do you want to relax? Are you trying to manage pain or another symptom?”, and so on.
“Once you start to understand what their needs are, you can better inform them of the choices available,” Sorto says. “If a person has a negative experience on cannabis, I don’t think it’s their fault. I think it’s the fault of the person who recommended whatever product they’re selling.”
Cannabis has been shown to be effective in addressing symptoms associated with a wide range of conditions. At Sunrise Wellness staff require a confirmation of a diagnosis before making cannabis products available to address issues relating to the following list of diseases and conditions: ADHD, AIDS/HIV, arthritis, asthma, brain and head injuries, cancer, cerebral palsy, chemotherapy treatment, chronic pain, colitis, Crohn’s disease, depression, eating disorders, eczema, emphysema, end of life–palliative care, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic migraines, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, chronic and debilitating nausea, neuralgia, paraplegia and quadriplegia, psoriasis, Parkinson’s disease, radiation therapy, seizure and sleep disorders, spinal cord injury, substance addiction, and withdrawal.
“We still ask you for your medical documents,” Sorto says.
The Sunrise Wellness managing director doesn’t fit the profile of a stereotypical cannabis entrepreneur. With an undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s of business administration from SFU, he understands everything from modern marketing to the power of lobbyists. And he’s aware that each has played a role in stifling the use of cannabis in the past.
Sunrise Wellness’s other managing directors also come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. “Dominic and Max, both from Vancouver, established Sunrise Wellness in 2014 and have a deep understanding in the production of cannabis,” Sorto states. “Robin, originally from Kelowna, is a guru on extracts as well as production. Ehren, originally from Hawaii, is focused on municipal and provincial matters as the VP of CAMCD, and Manny, originally from Mexico, is focused on the member experience. It is through this diversity that gives us strength and allows us to connect with our community.”
All the Sunrise Wellness directors have a personal goal of giving back to the community, creating a positive space for cannabis access, and a commitment to continuously learning new ways cannabis can benefit society.
Sorto adds, “Our mission is to provide access to quality B.C. cannabis and its derivatives to all walks of life. Whether you are a young professional, a mother of two, or a booming boomer, Sunrise Wellness welcomes you!”