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P.E.I. Cannabis Management Corporation gives first look at Charlottetown store

Zach Currie, director of operations for the P.E.I. liquor commission, takes questions from reporters during a tour of the P.E.I. Cannabis retail store on Belvedere Ave. on Oct. 15, 2018.
Zach Currie, director of cannabis operations for the P.E.I. Cannabis Management Corporation, takes questions from reporters during a tour of the P.E.I. Cannabis retail store on Belvedere Ave. on Oct. 15, 2018. - Stu Neatby

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The layout of Charlottetown’s first recreational cannabis store bears more of a resemblance to a spa or a Body Shop outlet than a typical smoke shop.

The doors of the P.E.I. Cannabis retail store, located on Belvedere avenue, will open at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

The store’s opening will usher in the official start of legal cannabis on the Island.

Customers will first queue up to present valid photo ID at a small lobby, before entering an open plan retail floor.

The store is tech-heavy, but light on easily handled product.

Customers will be able to peruse the selection of various recreational cannabis strains on an iPad, while smelling ‘cannabis pods,’ essentially spice jar-sized containers of cannabis, to capture the ‘terpene profile’ of the sample.

The store will offer a variety of cannabis products, including oils, pre-rolls, dried flower and capsules.

But all cannabis products will be kept inside locked glass cabinets until the point of purchase.

“You'll be able to smell the product, view the packaging and really kind of get those bases covered to make a well-informed shopping decision," said Zach Currie, the P.E.I. Cannabis Management Corporation’s director of cannabis operations.

RELATED: Charlottetown police, RCMP preparing for legalization day on Oct. 17

RELATED: Purolator to provide home delivery for legalized cannabis in P.E.I.

According to Currie, the Island’s four retail outlets will operate in tandem with the province’s online store.

Products and literature are on display at the Belvedere Ave. P.E.I. Cannabis retail outlet in Charlottetown. The store, which will be operated by the province, will allow 19+ consumers to purchase up to 30 grams of recreational cannabis.
Products and literature are on display at the Belvedere Ave. P.E.I. Cannabis retail outlet in Charlottetown. The store, which will be operated by the province, will allow 19+ consumers to purchase up to 30 grams of recreational cannabis.

He expects most recreational consumers to favour the bricks-and-mortar shopping experience before switching to ordering online in the months following Wednesday’s opening.

Currie said he expects 60-70 per cent of the province’s cannabis sales to operate out of the Charlottetown store in the initial months.

As of Wednesday, consumers over the age of 19 will be able to purchase a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis at a time.

The retail supply of cannabis will only be sold from provincial government outlets, both online and in four stores located in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague and in West Prince.

Currie said the retail outlets will not allow the entry of minors, even if accompanied by a guardian.

He said this was due to the new nature of laws surrounding legalized cannabis.

For those casual consumers who don’t yet know their sativas from their indicas, Currie said store employees have been through a three-week course to help customers determine their preference among the various strains.

The province has so far hired 50 new employees in preparation for opening day.

The wage for frontline retail staff starts at between $17 and $18 an hour.

Currie said he was aware that many customers will avoid visiting a retail outlet due to the potential stigma that is still attached to recreational use of cannabis.

He said the store hopes to break some of this stigma by offering “social responsibility messaging” to customers, and by offering an online portal for more discrete consumers.

Online purchases will be delivered the next day, at an additional charge of $8.

Products and literature are on display at the Belvedere Ave. P.E.I. Cannabis retail outlet in Charlottetown. The store, which will be operated by the province, will allow 19+ consumers to purchase up to 30 grams of recreational cannabis.
Products and literature are on display at the Belvedere Ave. P.E.I. Cannabis retail outlet in Charlottetown. The store, which will be operated by the province, will allow 19+ consumers to purchase up to 30 grams of recreational cannabis.

The province will be relying on the shipping company Purolator to provide home deliveries.

"Come in, check us out. Even if you're not making a purchase in-store, see what it's all about. And know that our commitment to your confidentiality is strong and we'd love to interact with you and answer some of the questions you may have," Currie said.

Provincial regulations will allow cannabis to be consumed in private homes or in outdoor spaces such as a balcony, deck or patio.

Landlords or condominium corporations will be allowed to permit consumption in areas near dwellings as long as they are 4.5 metres from entrances and air intake areas of the building.

Stu.neatby@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/stu_neatby

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