Island dispensaries selling through stock ahead of cannabis legalization
Cannabis dispensaries in the Greater Victoria area are holding blowout sales to sell through their product before legalization day on Oct. 17.
With just a little over a week until it's legal to toke up across the country, customers were flocking to local dispensaries to take advantage of the low prices.
The Original Farm on Douglas Street was one of the businesses holding sales, with prices slashed by up to $20 on some products, depending on quantity.
The shop is temporarily closing the night before pot is legalized to comply with provincial legislation, and wants to sell through as much of its current product as it can before that happens. When it restocks, it must do so from provincially approved product purchased from the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch.
"It is ironic that upon Canadian legalization, an upstanding cannabis shop like ours is shutting down and closing our doors," the company's chief compliance officer Allan Lingwood told CTV News.
The company expects it could close for up to a month, something it says will be "challenging" for staff members, but hopes it can expedite the licensing process with the province.
"It'll take a little bit for us to get back to where we are today, but working with licensed producers and provincial licensing, we can get back there very quickly," Lingwood said.
Across town, employees at Trees dispensary are taking a gamble by planning to stay open after legalization, even though the business is not provincially licensed yet.
"We are applying for our provincial licenses, but we don't expect them to be approved or issued for some weeks or months," said general manager Alex Robb. "Because of the complexity of all of this…it is going to be a gradual rollout that is different in different parts of the province."
While Robb said the store has no plans to close down post-legalization, it will have to clear out its current product before a mandatory inspection later this year.
As for what the province may do to unlicensed shops selling pot after its legal, the government issued a statement noting they won't be shut down overnight.
"In fact, we anticipate many illegal dispensaries will voluntarily come into compliance with the law by obtaining a retail license, or shutting down," B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said in a statement.
The only shop in B.C. that will be licensed to sell pot by next Wednesday is one in Kamloops. Legal pot will also be available to consumers online.