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.
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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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.