Article by CBC News
Inside Nova Cannabis in Toronto’s bustling Queen Street West neighbourhood, the shop’s budtenders are crowded around a low table, taking whiffs of tiny vials and exchanging their observations.
“Slightly spicy,” says one, before jotting down some notes and picking up another sample.
The first 25 licensed cannabis stores in Ontario will open for business on Monday. But just days before, Nova Cannabis, like many of them, still wasn’t quite ready for its big moment.
It was only a few months ago, on Jan. 11, that a lottery system determined which retailers would be eligible to apply for a licence to sell cannabis in Ontario. And the application process is time-consuming. It includes, for example, finding a location that meets certain regulatory requirements, and informing the neighbourhood that you intend to set up shop. And of course, you can’t order any stock until the license is approved.
Nova Cannabis isn’t expected to open on Monday. While anxiously refreshing her email, owner Heather Conlon is trying to visualize what things will look like once her license and first cannabis shipment finally arrives.
“It’s going to be very busy, we expect lineups, obviously,” she said.
‘Few shops’ expected to open
Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. received its license in time to place orders and schedule its final inspections before Monday. It appeared to be the only shop in Toronto on track to meet its target opening.
“It’s been an amazing roller coaster,” said owner Hunny Gawri, a Mississauga, Ont.,-based realtor with no prior experience in the cannabis industry.