Opening day for majority of cannabis stores in Saskatchewan will be delayed

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WATCH ABOVE: It is doubtful any of the seven cannabis stores in Saskatoon will open on Oct. 17 when recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada – Oct 15, 2018

The countdown is on. On Oct. 17, recreational cannabis becomes legal in Canada but it might be a bit anticlimactic, at least in Saskatchewan, since the majority of retail stores won’t be ready.

At least two-thirds of the 51 retail stores in the province won’t be open by Wednesday including The Pot Stack off 8th Street.

READ MORE: Medical marijuana users could fall victim to new cannabis tax

Nonetheless, Global News got a sneak peek of the space by co-owner Geoff Conn who described it as Saskatoon’s home of the Big Bud.

“The idea is when you come into the store it’s like a comfortable cabin type atmosphere,” Conn said.

He and others will be pioneers of recreational pot in the province and unlike many other retailers this cannabis store has experienced some major hold-ups.

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“The biggest hurdle right now is supply,” Conn explained.

“We had originally had all of our supply set up for opening on Oct. 17 but there’s been some hiccups in the chain and we’re just pressing forward figuring out when our opening day is going to be.”

Having to rely on others outside of your organization is a common theme among these vendors – as they deal with different cities or towns for building permits, landlords for leases and lawyers for legal documents, and that’s just the beginning.

Inside The Pot Shack on Grosvenor Avenue in Saskatoon, one of Saskatchewan’s 51 cannabis retail stores.
Inside The Pot Shack on Grosvenor Avenue in Saskatoon, one of Saskatchewan’s 51 cannabis retail stores.

Conn said the challenges now are not only supply but his crew is in the middle of construction and they have a little more red tape to navigate through.

“We have to wait for the government to give us the OK to accept the product from our suppliers,” Conn added.

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“They have to inspect our vaults, inspect our security and make sure we’re compliant so we can take that next step forward.”

READ MORE: Saskatoon police ‘inundated’ with cannabis questions ahead of legalization

The goal is to have the store open by the end of October or early November, whereas another retailer is eyeing up late November to open its first of three stores after purposely pumping the brakes.

“It was a conscience decision on our part to really take a step back from this for a second and make sure that every community we were going into felt comfortable with the products that we’re bringing in,” said Corey Tyacke, retail sales manager for 5 Buds Cannabis.

The group is launching legal pot locations in Warman, North Battleford and Yorkton. Tyacke said for example, the consultation process in Warman has included talks with the town, the school board along with plans to have a discussion with the RCMP.

“Just to make sure we’re covering off all these bases and to make sure the general populace of these areas feel comfortable with the products we’re bringing and the measures we’re putting in place to keep kids out of our buildings and we’re running a very safe operation,” Tyacke explained.

5 Buds Cannabis has slated its Warman store to open Nov. 30, North Battleford by mid-December but more realistically it won’t open until the New Year, and Yorkton by the second quarter of 2019.