Article by Kathleen Saylors, Woodstock Sentinel-Review
More than two-and-a-half years after cannabis legalization in Canada, Woodstock’s very first legal pot shop opened last week.
Woodstock Cannabis – owned by Jeremy Guerra and managed by sister-in-law Britney Guerra – opened at 579 Dundas St.
“We wanted peace, love and (the) hippy vibes that came with cannabis back in the day. With the name (Woodstock Cannabis), we wanted to make it awesome,” said Britney Guerra, noting the store’s retail theme is the famous Woodstock rock festival. “We’re super excited to open our doors.”
After being involved with cannabis pre-legalization – Guerra is a well-known cannabis activist who worked at a now-shuttered Hamilton black market dispensary in 2016 – Guerra said she is excited to be part of the legal cannabis industry and wanted to open in Woodstock because of its proximity to her home in Brantford.
“We wanted to take a smaller-town approach instead of a big city. People in Woodstock need access,” she said.
Woodstock’s location is their second store after one already opened in Brantford while a third – also in Brantford – is in the works.
Because of an arrest record resulting from her work in the cannabis industry before legalization, Guerra said she is not allowed to own a dispensary, but much of her family is involved in Woodstock Cannabis, including her husband and father-in-law. In addition to managing Woodstock Cannabis, Guerra works as a consultant for other cannabis licensees opening retail locations.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the store is just open for curbside pickup right now, but Woodstock Cannabis hopes to welcome customers to the space, described by Guerra as bright and colourful in keeping with the Woodstock Festival theme, with pictures of its iconic headliners on the walls.
Guerra said they have been working to open the Woodstock store since legalization. While the pandemic has been difficult for many local businesses, Guerra said that cannabis is pretty “COVID-proof.”
“Cannabis is similar to alcohol … (in that) it’s an industry that’s COVID- and recession-proof. It seems to be going well and I count my blessings every day we’re able to do this in such times.”
She said they focus on supporting local wherever possible, shopping for many of their fixtures in local stores and stocking Ontario cannabis products.
And while this is the first cannabis store in Woodstock, it isn’t the last. Another cannabis dispensary, Dundas Cannabis, opened just a week later down the street.