Article by Victoria Gibson, The Toronto Star
The owners and employees of the hair salons, pizza joints and convenience stores who will be neighbours to Toronto’s first legal pot shop had no idea about the government endeavour sidling up next door — until they saw cameras, or flipped on the news.
Juliet Medina of Hi Cuts Hair and Care said one of her clients dialed her up after seeing the news early Thursday morning that their Scarborough plaza was one of four locations the province had chosen for its first marijuana dispensaries.
“One of my customers phoned me, and she’s so worried about that, she was even telling me she doesn’t want to come to the shop anymore if this is going to exist,” Medina told the Star. “The address was like, whaaat? It’s our plaza!”
The strip of stores at Gerrard St. E. and Victoria Park Ave. will be home to the city’s first Ontario Cannabis Store, run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Those who work in the strip mall are close-knit, occupants told the Star, but feelings were mixed towards their new neighbours.
Jasmine Milani has only worked at the Dental Centre clinic since December, but she told the Star multiple stories of the generosity and kindness she’s seen among storekeepers.
“The business people here, from McDonald’s to this small shop on the corner, the convenience store and the spa, we know each other somehow,” she said, add that if she went to the convenience store and forgot her wallet the owners would let her pay later.
“It’s like the old style neighbourhoods,” she said. Once, she said, during a late night, she discovered building management had changed the key to the garbage. “Everybody was prepared to lend me the key, or help me with the garbage … And you don’t see that very often.”
Inside the 7 Day Convenience, Halim Jang and her husband chatted with a customer as he tried his luck on lotto tickets. The couple was confused on Thursday morning when they heard the news about the pot shop. 2480 Gerrard St. E., the address given for the government’s Toronto marijuana location, is their address too. And they’re not intending to go anywhere.