Article by Keira Ferguson, Elliot Lake Today
On Saturday morning, Greater Sudbury opened the doors to its first legal cannabis dispensary, Canna Cabana, one of two stores to be introduced in northern Ontario under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
If you hadn’t heard the news, you may have smelled the barbecue, hosted until this evening along with music from DJ Booma as part of Canna Cabana’s official grand-opening block party. Doors to the dispensary – located at 2019 Long Lake Rd., Unit B – opened about a half-hour later than expected, around 9:30 a.m., but that didn’t stop people from taking their place in line as early as 7 a.m.
Two police officers have been stationed outside of the dispensary for the day, directing traffic and ensuring that the crowd, which had wrapped itself around the side and back of the four-corner dispensary, can shop safely.
Delayed by provincial licensing, the dispensary opens its doors 20 days after the government-regulated date of April 1, a setback that has cost owners’ a $12,500 fine. The dispensary may also be penalized an additional $12,500 for not having opened before April 15.
At this point, Highlife Dispensary on Marcus Drive has yet to receive its provincial licence.
Sudbury’s Canna Cabana, along with 23 locations to be opened or that have opened across Ontario, is owned by the parent company High Tide Inc., an Alberta-based, retail-focused cannabis corporation that, in addition to selling cannabis at the majority of its locations, manufacturers and distributes smoking accessories as well as cannabis lifestyle products.
A number of these products are showcased in the display cases of Sudbury’s Canna Cabana, neatly lined on either side of the 2,200-square-foot store.
“We’re so happy to look at people’s faces when they come into the store,” said Michael Hogewoning, one of the four partners who own the location.
“With all the LED lights and the glittering glassware – it’s a clean, safe atmosphere like an Apple store … it’s not a TV dispensary where it’s a dark, dingy corner where you slip the guy some cash.”
Hogewoning owns the Sudbury dispensary with partners Michael Colborne, Michael McLaren and Jeff Rule.
Rather than having their product behind a counter, Canna Cabana has chosen to display it in glass cases throughout the centre of the store. This island set-up allows customers to peruse items at their leisure, reading the additional information included with each cannabis product that outlines the components of that particular strand and the effects it is likely to have on users.