Article by Cris Vilela, Kingstonist
After a long process that included two unsuccessful lottery draws and delays due to COVID-19, Calyx + Trichomes owner Jennawae McLean is excited to finally open the doors to her government-approved cannabis retail shop on Midland Ave.
Despite the multiple hiccups, McLean has remained optimistic throughout the process to open what is now the third authorized cannabis shop in Kingston, and the only one in the west end. “We lost in the lottery, not once but twice, but other than that, the lottery was really the only hiccup. Everything else was relatively smooth,” said McLean. “The people at the AGCO and OCS were motivated to help, we submitted our application on Jan 6, 2020 and on Jan 8 they’d already been working on it – they were right on top of it.”
McLean explained that the approval process involved multiple applications, including a Retail Operator License, and a Manager’s License. While the Retail Operator License application was relatively quick, McLean said that the Manager’s License took somewhat longer. “My partner (Lorenzo Eavion) and I have been doing this for almost 11 years,” said McLean, “and because we came from a deregulated market, due to our previous cannabis activism our record wasn’t spotless.”
During the application process, McLean says she took solace in seeing other cannabis activists, some with similar or even lengthier cannabis-related records, obtain their licenses, and that their successes spurred her on and encouraged her through the uncertain times.
While Calyx + Trichomes has had its license in place for about a month, COVID-19 threw a big wrench in the store’s opening plans, McLean says. In early April, the Ontario government rescinded the “Essential Business” classification for cannabis shops, postponing her expected opening day. Additionally, renovations on the new retail space ground to a near-halt as construction companies and government officials worked through what kind of work was and was not permitted under changing COVID-19 restrictions.