October 14, 2018 10:03 pm
Updated: October 15, 2018 2:19 pm

First B.C. Cannabis Store set to open in Kamloops as legalization approaches

WATCH: The province's first legal weed store set to open in Kamloops. Kristen Robinson reports.

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What, exactly, is behind the windows of Suite 200 at Columbia Place Shopping Centre in Kamloops remains a closely guarded secret ahead of marijuana legalization.

A security guard was stationed outside the soon-to-open location of the province’s first BC Cannabis Store on Sunday, Oct. 14.

“It is a novelty. We’ll be the first in British Columbia, and I think it’s a reflection that Kamloops is open for business,” Mayor Ken Christian told Global News.

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READ MORE: B.C. strata councils scramble to prepare for cannabis legalization

The old Dollar Store location will go green as B.C’s first government-operated pot shop, provided Kamloops city council gives it the final go-ahead by approving its retail cannabis sales licence on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

An online portal will also be ready for business on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

Christian says the city has been working on the legal weed business for more than a year, holding all the necessary public hearings to establish zoning and licensing.

“The bottom line here is to get cannabis out of the illegal drug trade and away from organized crime, and I think this is a step towards that,” said Christian.

According to a staff report going to city council, about 20 employees — including a store manager, an assistant manager and knowledgeable cannabis consultants — will staff the 3,000-square-foot space once it opens on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

Eighteen part-time cannabis consultant positions are still up for grabs at the government-owned Kamloops store, with an hourly wage range of $20.40 to $23.63.

READ MORE: When B.C. government pot shops open, they’ll carry more than 150 kinds of weed

According to the BC Public Service website, budding applicants must have a “passion for transferring the knowledge of, and selling of, cannabis products.”

Provincial cannabis regulations allow sales from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, but the Kamloops store plans to open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Although it will be the only government store in B.C. opening on legalization day, the province’s top cop told Global News he is confident there will be enough retail and online marijuana stock to meet demand.

“Some strains or varieties, if they prove to be particularly popular — it’s like a small-scale winery, they may run out,” said Solicitor General and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

“But the reality is we will have the largest variety of cannabis products available anywhere in the country.”

More public and private stores are expected to grow out of legalization, as the province and local governments approve some of the 173 applications to run legal, licensed retail outlets.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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