First licensed, private cannabis store in the Shuswap opens its doors

Click to play video: 'The first legal, privately-operated cannabis store in the Shuswap region of B.C. opened its doors on Sunday Mar.10, 2019.' The first legal, privately-operated cannabis store in the Shuswap region of B.C. opened its doors on Sunday Mar.10, 2019.
Jeff Phillips, the owner of Green Canoe Cannabis, speaks about operating the first legal cannabis store in the Shuswap and what it took to be granted the coveted license – Mar 10, 2019

The first licensed, private recreational cannabis store in the Shuswap region of south-central B.C. opened its doors to eager customers on Sunday afternoon.

Green Canoe Cannabis is part of a group of only 14 licensed, privately run, non-medical cannabis retail stores currently operating in the province.

“Very excited; it’s been a long process, a lot of work. We’ve been working morning to night to get our store open and we finally are here,” said owner Jeff Phillips on Sunday.

READ MORE: Vernon could be getting a BC Cannabis Store

The community of Canoe lies on the south side of Shuswap Lake and is within the City of Salmon Arm. Several other applications have been referred by the province to the local municipality for approval, but Green Canoe has the distinction of being the first to receive all necessary approvals.

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Megan Turcato / Global News

“I was very surprised that we were the first to be approved, but it was a bit of a race so we get a little bit of bragging rights to be the first open so we are happy for that,” Phillips said.

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

He added that there is demand for such a storefront in the Canoe neighbourhood, and his shop is conveniently located next to the Canoe Village Market.

“It was just an opportunity. It’s a service that I thought would really fit in this community. As a new product, it is going to be an exciting market that will expand and, eventually, it will be very similar to alcohol,” Phillips said.

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Fourteen licences have been granted to private cannabis retail stores in B.C. so far, including businesses in Kamloops, Dawson Creek, Invermere and Castlegar.

No licences have been granted yet for private cannabis storefronts in the Okanagan-Similkameen region.

READ MORE: Kelowna approves 15 out of 41 proposed pot shops to move onto next step

The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) has received 179 applications in the B.C. Interior and the north, the most of any region in the province. B.C. has received a total of 446 applications provincewide.

The Kamloops cannabis store on Columbia Place remains the only government-operated location in the province.

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