Victoria’s third legal cannabis store opens Thursday
The Hillside location of the Original Farm is shown. (Original Farm)
After a lengthy licensing process, the third marijuana retailer in Victoria is set to open its doors to the public Thursday.
The shop at 3055A Scott St. is the second location of the Original Farm, which has operated a legal cannabis storefront at 1402 Douglas St. since April 15.
The new Hillside-area location is slightly larger than the downtown branch and boasts access to ample parking, something that’s in short supply at the downtown location.
The Farm Hillside was delayed in opening after Victoria city council sent the store’s licence application back for a second round of public consultation before approval.
Prior to the Canada-wide legalization of cannabis in October 2018, the Farm Hillside operated as a medical cannabis dispensary at the Scott Street location since 2015.
Recreational cannabis shops are required to hold provincial and municipal licences to operate. However, only the Original Farm and the Cloud Nine Collective store at 778 Fort St. are currently operating legally in Victoria, while other unlicensed dispensaries have stayed open in the city, seemingly without suffering any penalties so far.
"It's unfortunate. There is definitely public misconception," Allan Lingwood of the Original Farm told CTV News in April. "[People think] cannabis is legal and therefore why wouldn’t all these shops be operating legally?"
The province said last month it would begin cracking down on shops selling cannabis without proper licences.
A new Community Safety Unit, working within the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is responsible for all cannabis compliance and enforcement in B.C. under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.
The unit has the authority to enter premises where cannabis is being sold without a provincial retail store licence and take enforcement action, including making seizures of cannabis.
Unlicensed store operators can be charged with provincial or criminal offences and be subject to an administrative monetary penalty under the law for the same contravention.
According to the province, those penalties can range as high as fines of $100,000, up to 12 months in jail, or both.
The Farm Hillside location will open Thursday at 9 a.m.