SUDBURY - It's not April 1, when cannabis retail stores we're allowed to open, but the Canna Cabana store on Long Lake road is opening April 20, a day marijuana enthusiasts have long celebrated as a sort of international pot celebration day.
Store owner Mike Colborne of Saturninus Partners confirmed Monday they received the green light from the province to open Friday, when they cleared the last hurdle and received their license to operate.
“We're pretty excited,” Colborne said. “We just place the first (marijuana) order actually on Sunday, and it's a very wide range of strains and products that we ordered.”
While all stores have to buy product from the Ontario Cannabis Store, Colborne said they also have a range of medicinal and other legal producers to choose from, and he was impressed by the variety they will be able to offer customers.
“It's my understanding when folks are ordering from the Ontario Cannabis Store selection, they wish there was more variety,” he said. “They have a really good internal team – a really great bunch of guys and girls – and they negotiated a big portfolio of offerings (from) all the licensed producers in Canada, and they they procured some pretty big inventories.
“It's almost overwhelming, actually, the (variety) in terms of what people want, what quantities, and, you know, what's available too … We think people will be really pleased.”
Since some stores have already opened, there's strong demand for certain strains of marijuana and Colborne expects there'll be competition for some of the more popular products. But he's confident they will have enough supply to meet demand, even if the most popular strains sell quickly.
The 2,200-square-foot store on Long Lake Road has been renovated and the store will open from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day, although it will be closed Easter Sunday. Colborne has hired about 14 people to work at the store. Some have extensive experience with the industry already, while others have received training so they can help customers find what they are looking for.
“We've hired just a really interesting and unique group of people who are very enthusiastic about their jobs,” he said. “And the management team is I got it, I've been blown away.
“So I think it'll be pretty exciting place to go. It will be enjoyable to walk in there and you're be talking about these things that you know, have been taboo for so many years, with a bunch of people who are pretty knowledgeable and really excited about what they are doing.”
By opening Saturday, however, the store will miss the April 15 deadline, meaning the province could penalize them another $12,500. Stores that didn't open April 1 have already been dinged $12,500, and will lose the full $50,000 deposit with the province if they don't open by the end of April.
Colborne said he didn't know if he faces another penalty for the 4/20 opening.
“I'm sure they'll let me know,” he said.
As of Monday afternoon, the second store in Sudbury, the Highlife on Marcus Drive, still had not received their license, even though they started the process about two weeks before Canna Cabana. In an interview last week, owner Anton Lucic said the province was still doing due diligence and was optimistic they would get their license soon.