‘A little odd’: B.C.’s biggest city celebrates cannabis without a legal store

On the streets of downtown Vancouver, notably the Wild West of illegal marijuana, not a single legal store opened Wednesday, making for a rather anticlimatic kick-off

Although cannabis became legal as the clock struck midnight across the country on Oct. 17, most B.C. residents won’t be able be able to pop into their local pot shop for legal bud.

The only legal bricks-and-mortar location is the government-run BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops, which opened its doors Wednesday morning to a few dozen eager customers.

READ MORE: Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

READ MORE: 10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

On the streets of downtown Vancouver, oftentimes called the Wild West of illegal marijuana, not a single legal store opened Wednesday, making for a rather anticlimatic kick-off.

Some illegal dispensaries have shuttered their doors, while others plan to continue business as usual, citing their medical-cannabis customer base and having city license approval.

Paul and Karen McMullin, visiting from Montana to mark their 40th anniversary, told Black Press Media had been reading up on Canada’s pending legalization.

“Well it just seems a little odd, but I think with time you will be able to purchase it locally,” Paul said.

But the future looks bright for legal pot according to a Research Co. survey of nearly 900 British Columbians, which suggested that 70 per cent were okay with marijuana shops popping up in their cities.

As the pot shops got closer to their homes however, people were less keen on having one nearby: only 56 per cent of those surveyed wanted a cannabis store in their neighbourhood.

When asked about pot shops on their block, respondents got a bit more wary and only 50 per cent approved of having a marijuana shop next door.

“There seems to a NIMBY sentiment when it comes to the future location of pot shops in the province,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co.

Across the board, millennials were the most okay with having a pot shop nearby and in general, men, homeowners and people living in Southern B.C. and Metro Vancouver were the most accepting of marijuana stores in their region.


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