Okanagan’s first government-run cannabis store opens in Penticton

BC Cannabis Stores opened its latest store in Penticton on Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Shelby Thom\Global News

Behind frosted and tinted windows, the Okanagan’s first government-run BC Cannabis Store opened in Penticton, with little fanfare.

The store is located in the Penticton Power Centre shopping mall at 2210 Main Street, Unit 106.

It is the 13th government-run store to open in the province, joining those serving customers in Kamloops, Trail, and Parksville.

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Cannabis on display at the BC Cannabis Store in Penticton. Shelby Thom\Global News

Unlike liquor stores, anyone who looks under the age of 30 will be immediately ID’d at the door.

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“On the floor, we have 84 different varieties of cannabis,” said BC Cannabis Stores regional manager Tyson Muzzillo, while giving the media a tour before opening to the general public.

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The cannabis, price, producer and levels of THC and CBD are all on display.

“Once they’ve made their selection by using this piece of paper, they write down the product name and the SKU, they come up to the counter, and what you’ll notice right away is there is no product available for people to just pick up,” Muzzillo said.

It’s not only dry bud that’s for sale.

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The store offers a range of Health Canada-approved products including oils, capsules, pre-rolls, and the newly introduced extracts, topicals and edibles.

Chocolate cannabis edibles for sale at the BC Cannabis Store in Penticton. Shelby Thom\Global News

“We started to see the first wave of edibles coming into market January of this year and there’s an excitement, it’s just a different way to consume,” he said.

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BC Cannabis Stores is a crown corporation chain of retail outlets operated by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch to distribute cannabis products. There is an emphasis on education and safe consumption within the brick-and-mortar retail stores.

As for price point, all licensed retailers purchase from the sale wholesale producers.

“All stores, whether private or government, buy from the same distribution, so the Liquor Distribution Branch is also the sole distributer of cannabis,” he said.

Dried cannabis on display at the government-run store in Penticton. Shelby Thom\Global News

“We all purchase from the same place, and then the pricing is set on the government side and the privates have the ability to choose their own pricing, as long as they don’t go below the wholesale cost,” Muzzillo said.

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“So they could find products at a private that would be alittle bit less expensive, and they couldn’t find products here that are on par with the privates.”

The 2900-square-foot store will be staffed by approximately 12 to 15 employees.

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Regular operating hours for the Penticton store will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays and most statutory holidays.

The provincial government said it plans to open another BC Cannabis Store in Vernon at the Smart Centre in May, while another will open at the Southwinds Mall in Oliver in early July.

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There is no timeline on when a BC Cannabis Store could open in the Okanagan Valley’s largest city of Kelowna.

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