Lineup marks opening of London's first cannabis store
For the first time ever, recreational marijuana is being sold legally over the counter in London. And pot enthusiasts stood in queue, anxious to be among the first through the door.
About 60 people were lined up prior to the scheduled 9 a.m. opening of Central Cannabis.
At the head of that line was Jason Geldhof. He arrived at about 7a.m., after driving an hour-and-a-half from Goderich.
"It's an historic day. I wanted to be in line. I'm glad I'm actually first in line."
Also arriving early was Bob Marr, a 71-year-old U.S. Army veteran who says he first started smoking while serving in Vietnam.
"Everybody's trying to kill us. And it was the best way to get away from yourself and your situation at the time."
Inside Central Cannabis, the layout is like that of a boutique specialty tea shop.
Prior to doors opening, staff were reviewing their procedures, going over how to identify product and locate stock using iPads.
Jon Conquergood is CEO of Central Cannabis’ parent company, Corner Cannabis. He says that while staff had prior knowledge of the product there was also intensive training.
"We certainly supplement as much training, on top of that, as we possibly can. To make sure that they're describing things in a regulatory safe way and make sure they're not stepping over any boundaries."
The opening was actually delayed just over half-an-hour as they waited for what is called an "occupancy permit" from London City Hall.
Shortly after 9:30 a.m. the permit arrived, a ribbon was cut, and a cheer went up. Then shoppers were allowed through the door in small groups.
Geldhof was the first to buy recreational pot in a London store, holding his receipt up for all to see.
“It's nothing to be ashamed of. I think we can bring it out into the public eye. It's clean, we're all respectable people. We're all adults."
Two other applications for retail cannabis stores in London have been made to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
One, on behalf of a company named “Tweed,” is for 1025 Wellington Road, near Bradley Avenue.
The other is by a group names “J. London.” They have applied for a location at 691 Richmond Street, just south of Oxford Street.
Both are awaiting approval.