Article by Jacquie Miller, Ottawa Citizen
The first three legal cannabis stores in Ottawa opened Monday to a steady buzz of customers but no ’round-the-block lineups.
They were among a handful opening across the province as Ontario continues its slow rollout of bricks-and-mortar stores.
Only 10 of the 25 stores the province had promised for April 1 have been approved.
So, for the time being, Ottawa is the cannabis store hot spot of Ontario. We have more stores than any city including Toronto, where only one opened.
Ottawa store owners weren’t sure what to expect Monday morning, and whether the scene would mirror the celebratory feel and long lineups at stores in other provinces when Canada legalized recreational marijuana in October. They hired security guards for crowd control just in case.
But there were only moderate lineups before the stores opened in Centretown, Wellington West Village and the ByWard Market.
Cindy Pokey was first in a lineup of about 50 people when Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store on Bank Street opened its doors just after 10 a.m.
“I’m here to buy pot,” said Pokey, 59. She’s been a marijuana user for 25 years, and was grateful to buy government-approved weed. “It’s so clean, no garbage in it, no fentanyl. It’s absolutely wonderful.”
The lineups that had formed through most of Hobo’s first day were gone by sundown, and the shop still had stock remaining for each of its roughly three dozen strains.