Terrace’s first recreational cannabis store opened its doors to eager customers on June 19.
KJ’s Best Cannabis located in the Gobind Mall on Lakelse Ave is one of 35 licensed, privately owned non-medical pot shops in the province.
“We want to make a safer place for the consumer to buy the product from us rather than buying everything on the street,” Manager Pan Sharma says.
According to one employee of the locally-owned business “people were swarming” when the doors opened, with eight “budtenders” on hand to check IDs and keep the number of customers below the 20-person capacity.
The store is a bright and open space with menu screens on the wall. Products for sale, including pre-rolled joints, bud and cannabidiol oil are on display in their original packaging in locked display cases, meaning customers can’t smell or see the actual product.
Sharma says he doesn’t smoke marijuana himself, and advises people who are new to pot to do their homework before buying. The three strains available are sativa, indica and hybrid.
“We’re not here to tell people what the benefits are or what’s going to happen to you, we are only here to sell the product. We’re keeping it simple,” he says.
Reaction to that simple approach was mixed as customers came with a lot of questions about the product.
“Being able to see what it is, even if it was something you couldn’t touch, would be a lot easier,” says customer Brian Touiname, 58. “There’s one marijuana cigarette inside how many different kinds of packaging?”
Customers leaving the store also complained about the prices — pre-rolled joints starting at $10 and oils starting at $40. While most said they appreciated the safety and quality guarantee of store-bought cannabis, some questioned whether that would be enough to stop them from buying cheaper product off the street.
But overall those waiting in line were glad to see the shop open for business.
“One hundred per cent, it’s an easy feeling,” says customer Rita Ainscow, 52. “If you’re going to a dealer you always worry. This is great.”
KJ’s Best Cannabis will be open seven days a week, with initial hours from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.