Educating cannabis buyers

UPDATE: 1:45 p.m.

Buying cannabis at the province's first legal retail cannabis store in Kamloops is an educational experience.

During the opening of Kamloops store Wednesday, Michael Tan, executive director of the Liquor Distribution Branch, said their research has shown despite high rates of cannabis consumption in B.C., “generally the knowledge of cannabis was relatively low.”

“There was an opportunity to educate customers, particularly new customers, on the plant,” Tan said.

Posters in the interior of the cannabis store provide information about the difference between indica and sativa cannabis, and how the levels of THC and CBD, along with different terpenes, affect an experience.

“Not anyone of those attributes are indicative of an experience, but all three combined would make a fairly educated choice,” Tan said. “Every single experience is personal to everyone, and the best way to determine what your best strain would be is through cautious experimentation.”

Unlike liquor stores, children aren't allowed in cannabis stores, even with a parent, and the windows are frosted as per Health Canada regulations.

On Wednesday, the Kamloops store was offering 85 strains from about 40 Licensed Producers.

“It's not what were going to look like six months from now, or what we'll look like a year from now,” said Brian Lawson, CEO of the Liquor Distribution Branch. “As more LPs come on stream and as they move from start up phase into normalized operations, that'll change dramatically.”

Additionally, customers can purchase rolling papers, pipes and bongs, along with other accessories.

UPDATE 11:15 a.m.

As the clock struck 10 a.m., the doors of the province's first legal recreational cannabis retail store opened in Kamloops, and eager customers patiently filed in. 

Becky Prete from Kelowna was the first one through the doors. She had been waiting since just after 6 a.m.

"I honestly thought I'd be a few blocks back, I literally thought that there'd be a lineup last night," Prete said. 

"Last night felt like Christmas for adults, I was super giddy. This morning when I got here, I was like, I'm so glad that I got up early and came."

While only about eight people were in line at 8 a.m., the lineup quickly grew as the opening neared, and close to 100 people were waiting by the time the doors open. 

Prete, who's been using cannabis for about a decade, says she never expected to one day buy cannabis from the government. 

Some who came out of the store after making their purchases expressed concern with pricing, which ranged from $6.99 to $13.99 per gram. 

"I bought seven grams and it was $100 ... I paid $10 in tax, that's a lot of tax," said Robert Griffiths, a Kamloops resident who grows his own medical cannabis. 

"I'll keep growing my own, it's cheap, it's pennies per gram if you do it at home."

Prete said while she wasn't too concerned with pricing on the first day of legalization, she may pay more attention to price later down the road.

Don and Aaron, two brothers who own the cannabis cultivation company DNA Genetics, travelled from California to see their products on the shelves in Canada. 

"It's amazing, it's been a long journey," Don said. "The goal is to have it legal everywhere like every other plant. Just make it legal and let people be adults and choose what they want. So Canada, we respect you for doing that."

While legal cannabis in B.C. can only be purchased from the retail store in Kamloops at this time, online sales went live at midnight. A $10 shipping fee is included for purchased online.

LIVE 10 a.m.



UPDATE 9:40 a.m.

As the clock ticks closer to 10 a.m., the lineup of those looking to purchase legal cannabis from the government grows. 

The BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops is the first legal retail dispensary to open in the province. 

Becky Prete from Kelowna got to the store just before 6 a.m. and is now first in line to get her hands on legal weed. She says she's been using cannabis for many years, and never expected to be buying from the government. 

The media were given tours of the store prior to opening. The inside has an Apple Store feeling to it, save for the pipes and bongs on the shelves and photos of cannabis on the walls. 

The store will be offering 85 strains of cannabis today, with prices ranging from about $6 to $16 for a gram.

Castanet's Nich Johansen is covering this story and will be going live shortly after the store officially opens.

ORIGINAL 5:00 a.m.

The first provincially run cannabis retail store in B.C. opens in Kamloops Wednesday morning.

The BC Cannabis Store is opening its doors in Kamloops' Columbia Place Shopping Mall at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, the day cannabis is federally legalized.

The store is bracing for a busy opening day, staffing 24 “cannabis consultants” when the doors open. While the province had initially announced they expected to offer 150 strains of cannabis, there will be 85 strains available to purchase on opening day.

In addition to dried cannabis, oils, and seeds, the store will also sell paraphernalia like rolling papers, pipes and bongs.

On Tuesday, the province announced customers will pay $6.99 to $13.99 per gram, plus tax, and online orders, which come online at noon, will include a $10 shipping fee.

Castanet will be live on location at the opening of the cannabis retail store in Kamloops Wednesday morning.

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