Making history: Vancouver's first two legal cannabis stores open
Published Saturday, January 5, 2019 12:46PM PST
Last Updated Saturday, January 5, 2019 7:31PM PST
Recreational cannabis was legalized 79 days ago and it's taken that long for people in Vancouver to be able to buy some without breaking the law.
City Cannabis Co. on Fraser Street and East 57th Avenue is just one of three stores in the Lower Mainland currently licensed to sell weed.
On Friday night, it made history by allowing a few customers inside the shop to make the city's first legal pot purchases.
"I heard they're opening and I wanted to be the first one to buy…I'm pumped about it," said customer Murf Laidlaw.
Since legalization, dozens of Metro Vancouver dispensaries have applied for licences to sell cannabis but few have received the formal paperwork. This has prompted some to stay open despite warnings they're selling illegally.
Now that there are going to be some licensed shops, Laidlaw said he can relax about consuming in public.
"There's no pressure if we're smoking in public or if we're doing our thing, we don’t have to worry about getting frowned upon or anything like that."
At 9:09 p.m., the first legal weed purchase was made in Vancouver.
The CEO of City Cannabis Co. said the moment was four years in the making.
"It took a lot of work to get to this point. And seeing that first purchase kind of just made it all worth it so we're looking forward to many more purchases," said Krystian Wetulani.
A truck load of legal pot has arrived at City Cannabis Co. on Fraser & E 57th in Vancouver. The cannabis store is planning a surprise soft opening to make the city’s first official sale. @CTVVancouver pic.twitter.com/fOZjYBW7qh— Emad Agahi (@emadagahiCTV) January 5, 2019
On Saturday morning, City Cannabis Co. on Fraser and Evergreen Cannabis in Kitsilano officially opened.
"I'm feeling giddy. I'm very excited. The team's been working very hard. We had a very, very long day yesterday," said Evergreen owner Mike Babins.
A small line-up formed outside store and Babins noticed some of the customers aren't the regulars.
"These aren't even our Kitsilano people -– these are people who came out and I don't even know from where –- but it's good to see them," he said.
He said he expects to see more people from other parts of the Lower Mainland coming to his business because of the limited legal brick-and-mortar shops.
The grand opening has sparked intrigue from pot users.
"Before I used to pretty much buy all my stuff off the streets," Curtis Pierce said. "I want to see the quality of the product compared to what I used to get it."
"Coming in here –- just the environment, just seeing everyone around, just the positive atmosphere -- it's going to be a great turn for Vancouver and the rest of the province."
A third store, City Cannabis Robson, will open in the downtown core next week.
The province has approved a total of six private stores, including Tamarack Cannabis Boutique and Earth's Own Naturals Ltd. in Kimberley and Weed Mart in the small northeastern community of Pouce Coupe, all of which are open.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Emad Agahi and Ben Miljure