Article by Scott Dunn, St. Thomas Times-Journal
Staff are getting ready to open Capturing Eden, Owen Sound’s first recreational marijuana shop, on Saturday.
When it does open, it could be the first pot shop to open legally in Grey-Bruce, other than those at Saugeen First Nation, where they’re operating in what has been described as a grey area of the law.
Police raided a shop in Sauble Beach, not on the native side, last week, seized pot products and charged a man with trafficking.
There are nine stores awaiting government approval to open in Grey-Bruce in this new, retail pot shop environment created with the federal legalization of recreational marijuana nearly two years ago.
With city business licence in hand and Health Canada-issued retail operators licence and retail store authorization, product shipments are scheduled to arrive at Capturing Eden in time for a final compliance inspection by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario Friday.
Once a licence to sell is awarded upon a successful inspection, Capturing Eden will be able to open as an Ontario Cannabis Store location, said store co-owner Wanita Livingstone, in an interview from her shop at 973 2nd Ave. W.
“We’re very excited. This is a long time coming,” said store manager Angela Messerschmidt, a long-time friend of Livingstone’s.
“A lot of calls that we get right now are interested parties that are older people, that are not smoking cannabis currently, want to try cannabis in a recreational way but want to use edibles,” Livingstone said.
“What Capturing Eden wants to do,” added Messerschmidt, “is provide a safe, secure place for people to purchase their products.”
They intend to hire about 10 employees, four to six full-time.
The store, which originally opened more than a year ago as a “medical cannabis assessment centre” and retailer of marijuana paraphernalia, will shift to become solely a retail store.
“We cannot discuss anything medically like we used to. But we can help them, ask them what kind of experience they’re looking for and then guide them,” Messerschmidt said.
The advice side of the operation will be conducted separately now, likely virtually, under a separate business called Eden West, they said.
Added Livingstone: “Lots of people have questions about even what products are available, right? So it’s nice to be able to say oh, there’s oils and capsules and what the difference is and that kind of thing,” she said.
“It’s just very different than what you would do if you were going into a liquor store or a beer store.”
Upon entering the store, people will be greeted by security, then handed over to a “budtender,” who helps customers understand the products available. Purchases are made at the back of the store, at which point the product will be retrieved from a secured site within the premises.