Closing time is 4:20 p.m. at Salmon Arm’s Downtown Cannabis.
The store, located at 111 Lakeshore Drive NE, is the second of the city’s provincially approved cannabis retailers to open its doors in the downtown.
Owner Gord Erickson says Downtown Cannabis’ business hours, including the current closing time, is temporary until staff are fully trained, with certification from the B.C. government.
“All staff members need to be certified by the province,” said Erickson. “We’ve got eight people waiting for certification to be finalized and we have four so far.”
When staff are ready, Erickson said the plan is to have the store open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., just like his neighbouring Downtown Liquor Store.
Downtown Cannabis is one of three privately owned downtown cannabis retail outlets to receive approval from the province. The first to open its doors was the Greenery Cannabis Boutique on Highway 1. Salmon Arm Cannabis at 81 Shuswap Street NW has yet to open.
While the City of Salmon Arm has given support to an application from Eden, also on Lakeshore, it has yet to receive provincial approval. Outside of the downtown, Green Canoe Cannabis in Canoe was the first Salmon Arm cannabis dispensary to open.
The B.C. government also has plans for a cannabis store, set to go in a yet-to-be constructed building at the SmartCentres site.
Asked what defines his store, Erickson said an emphasis on education and a user-friendly, hospitable environment.
“I think ours is like a unique and eclectic store; it’s got much more by way of paraphernalia and educational things that can help you learn more about cannabis, so I think that sets us a little bit apart,” said Erickson. “And I think if you just come into the store and have a look around, you’ll see it’s just a super warm, non-medical atmosphere.”
Asked about the process of going from concept to being open for business, Erickson applauds the City of Salmon Arm for being prepared for legalization and the roll out of private retail cannabis opportunities. The overall process, however, he describes as challenging and costly.
“I don’t think the (B.C.) government was prepared to roll out the system the way they should have,” said Erickson. “Now that we’re in the business and our doors our open, it seems they’ve gotten a little more organized in the sort of back end of things. But the amount of paper work and the amount of scrutiny around the cannabis roll out has been expensive and challenging battle.”
Erickson applauds fellow Salmon Arm cannabis retailers who have also made it successfully through that process. While its unknown how each will fare, Erickson welcomes the competition.
“I’m not exactly sure how it’s all going to roll out with the amount of stores that we have, but I believe there’s room for everybody,” said Erickson. “Town is growing, population is growing. The fact Salmon Arm people were able to fight through the bureaucracy of the whole thing and get there, it shows we have really good business people in this community.”