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Donnelly Group opens Vancouver’s latest legal pot shops, bringing city’s total to 5

A vendor displays marijuana for sale in a file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver’s latest legal cannabis retail stores are going corporate.

The city announced Tuesday it has approved business licences for the first two B.C. locations of Hobo Recreational Cannabis: one at 425 Granville St., and the other located at 4296 Main St.

Hobo is owned by the Donnelly Group, which announced plans in March to open eight locations across B.C.

A third Vancouver location on Robson Street and a new shop in Kelowna are projected to open this summer.

WATCH: (Aired Jan. 5) Vancouver welcomes opening of city’s first two legal marijuana stores

Click to play video: 'Vancouverites welcome the opening of the city’s first two legal marijuana stores' Vancouverites welcome the opening of the city’s first two legal marijuana stores
Vancouverites welcome the opening of the city’s first two legal marijuana stores – Jan 5, 2019

The company opened its first-ever store in Ottawa on April 1, which was the first day legal cannabis stores were allowed to open in Ontario.

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The group’s vice president of brand and culture, Harrison Stoker, said Wednesday that both Vancouver locations have seen positive feedback since their soft openings the night before.

“We’ve been ready to go for months now, and we’ve had a lot of people in both neighbourhoods who are really happy we’re finally up and running,” he said.

READ MORE: More BC Cannabis Stores planned to open this year, but none for Vancouver or Victoria

Stoker said the goal of Hobo is to offer a “relaxed, comfortable and knowledgeable” experience that will set it apart from other shops.

The stores carry dozens of strains that consumers can be matched with using a “decision tree” that helps guide smokers towards what effect they’re looking for.

Stoker said the way the cannabis is presented is similar to a buying a beer at any Donnelly pub or restaurant.

WATCH: (Aired May 18) 20-year-old B.C. woman acquires cannabis shop license

Click to play video: 'B.C. woman acquires cannabis shop license: she’s only 20-years-old' B.C. woman acquires cannabis shop license: she’s only 20-years-old
B.C. woman acquires cannabis shop license: she’s only 20-years-old – May 18, 2019

“Just like at one of our bars you’re looking at a 42-tap-deep list of craft beers … there’s a similar sense of salesmanship and product knowledge at the cannabis shop,” he said.

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“No one beer is the same, and no one cannabis strain is perfect for everyone,” he added. “What’s really exciting is the way those two experiences align.”

That includes having staff that are just as knowledgeable about the cannabis they’re selling as a bartender would be about the beer selection.

READ MORE: Vancouver’s first legal recreational pot shops open for business

Stoker said Donnelly’s move into cannabis is a natural fit considering its experience building a relationship with the Liquor Distribution Branch, which now oversees the province’s cannabis market.

Hobo’s two stores now brings Vancouver’s legal pot shop market to five locations, including two City Cannabis locations on Robson and Fraser Streets and Evergreen Cannabis Society in Kitsilano.

The province has approved a sixth location, Muse, at 3039 Granville St. that will be operated by the JAK Group, which operates liquor stores across the Lower Mainland.

READ MORE: Skip the dispensary? Vancouver company offers illegal marijuana delivery service

That location has yet to receive final approval from the city.

Twenty-five other applicants for city licences have also been recommended to the province for approval, with no timeline on when those locations might get the green light.

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