Retail staff ‘relieved’ as Toronto’s second legal cannabis store opens in Yorkville
Ameri, Toronto’s second and much-anticipated legal cannabis store, opened its doors to customers in Yorkville on Sunday.
The store is the second to open in the city and one of five licences allocated for Toronto by the Ontario government, with the Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. being the first store to open on Monday.
Although they missed the April 1st deadline and some computer glitches caused them to start half an hour later than intended Sunday, the staff at Ameri were relieved to finally see the store open for business.
“It’s been a long haul,” said Rob, a store manager at Ameri. The company has a policy whereby staff only provide their first names, due to concerns of facing issues at the Canada-U.S. border.
Rob said the store went through many challenges including issues with leasing, financing, and security protocols that delayed their opening date.
“These people have been working overtime and trying to make things work,” he said.
While accessibility was one of the main concerns consumers had with Toronto’s first pot shop, the Hunny Pot Cannabis Co., Rob said Ameri tried to do their best to make the store as accessible as possible given it’s an old building.
“We have a ramp in the back. We would check security [and identifiction] at the front and then go in from the back.”
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He said the store has even placed shelves at a level that will allow wheelchairs to easily get underneath and made sample jars more reachable.
Ameri has also put in place software specific to the cannabis industry that will secure customer’s information and make sure it’s not shared with U.S. authorities in any manner.
Neighbouring businesses have welcomed the store with open arms. Alex Stuart, owner of The Pilot pub next door said he’s happy for a thriving new business.
“There’s so many struggles with this street because of the demolition and construction, and I think this will help do something good for both of us.”
However, customers are having mixed feelings about Ameri’s products.
Kevin Nicol, a longtime cannabis smoker, finds the new store to be too expensive for its value.
“Unfortunately, the business set up is set up for businesses to make money, but not for the customers to come in and get the products at a decent price,” he said.
While other customers are concerned about the lack of variety and products available.
“It’s pretty small [compared to the other store],” said Summer Sky, who’s been looking for CBD oil and was unhappy to find that Ameri did not sell any.
It’s unknown when the remaining three licenced stores are slated to open in Toronto.
— With files from James Davidson
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