New Brunswick opened its 20 Cannabis NB retail outlets on the morning recreational marijuana use became legal in Canada.
Several dozen people were waiting for the 10 a.m. opening in Rothesay, just outside of Saint John.
That’s where the CEO of Cannabis NB started his day.
“A lot of work and preparation and thought went into this model and to the training of our staff and making sure that we were ready to provide the people of New Brunswick this great service,” said Brian Harriman.
Harriman said early reports indicated steady business across the province and a steady flow of orders overnight when the online service was activated.
“The shopping experience and the feedback we’re getting has been very positive,” he said. “People have been really happy in what they’ve found so far.”
Opening day wasn’t without its glitches. Some stores reported debit machines had gone down, at least temporarily, and customers were told at the time only cash transactions were possible.
One couple at the Rothesay location said they thought the staff would be more knowledgeable.
” I feel like people didn’t know where everything was or what they had in stock and stuff like that,” said Katherine Taylor.
” It was just a little confusing, that was all,” added Maxine Losier. “I’m sure it’s just because it’s the first day. There’s never been a business like this before.”
WATCH: The head of Cannabis NB says business was steady both in store and online as recreational marijuana use became legal in Canada. As Andrew Cromwell reports, Brian Harriman also says he doesn’t plan on getting into a bidding war with the illegal market over pricing.
The price point for some of the cannabis is also an issue for some people.
“Two hundred dollars for a half ounce, why would you buy that here when you can go to your dealer down the street and pay $150?” said Krystal Bunce outside the Cannabis NB location in Saint John’s north end.
“We’re certainly not going to get into a price war with the illegal market by any stretch,” Harriman said. “We know we’re offering great value and we do have pricing that is competitive with the illegal market right now.”
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The available supply of certain cannabis products is an issue nationwide. Harriman said Cannabis NB has tried to deal with that issue strategically.
“We wanted to make sure that the product we do make available that we have consistent supply,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’ve chosen our portfolio to make sure that we are in stock and able to continue to offer continuous availability for those products.”
Harriman said he expects an ongoing increase in the availability of an assortment of products over the next three to five weeks.