At 4:20 p.m. on Oct. 17 Labrador’s first cannabis store opened. It was an appropriate time, 4:20 being a slang term associated with cannabis.
At about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday some of the first customers lined up. One of those people, Sarah Taylor, told The Aurora, “It’s about time that the product was made legal. I want to be among the first to enter this new phase in Canada.”
Taylor agrees that having the product regulated will ensure its purity and avoid some of the pitfalls of buying on the black market.
Although she wasn’t technically the first to buy, she was the first through the door. She chose the product with the highest THC content and let out a whoop to signify her satisfaction as she left the store.
The store, located in the Harrie Lake subdivision, is owned by four people — Brenda Tobin, Trevor Tobin, Kristy Howell and Ed Dyke. The quartet own an adjacent convenience store and another in the centre of town.
“It’s been a lot of work, there are high standards for the store and the location,” Brenda Tobin told The Aurora. “There were permits, inspections, security to put in place, a lot of things had to be just right for us to get the license. And we have to maintain those standards.”
As the countdown began the honour of buying the first legal cannabis went to Curtis Doran. Doran helped the owners with some computer problems they were having that allowed them to get the store open on time.
“It’s about time this happened in Canada,” he said. “Time and money won’t be wasted to prosecute people for simple possession, and there’s the quality issue.”
As the time grew close to 4:20 p.m. the owners went outside and unveiled the logo and business sign.
High North is the name of the store, with colours of the Labrador flag around a stylized cannabis leaf lighting up the sign.
Then to cheers and applause the doors opened to a sparkling facility, with the price board on the wall, staff ready to explain what was available and to answer questions about the strength and the varieties on hand.
Trevor Tobin explained that they had a limited supply of product as they didn’t get everything that was ordered, and told customers they are doing the best they can to keep shelves stocked. He did say the initial indication is that supplies were distributed across the province in a fair manner and there were some shortages expected to start off.
Brenda Tobin watched as the store filled up and shook her head.
“This is a new era in Canada and here in Labrador West, I never thought I would see this happen,” she said. “But now we have to abide by the laws and do our part.
“There are strict rules about quantity, checking identification, hours of operation, everything has to be above board, the same way we are governed by laws about alcohol and tobacco.”
Within an hour of opening, the lineup grew longer and longer.
“It reminds me of the first day McDonalds opened,” quipped one younger patron.
Brenda Tobin said they are overjoyed to get this off the ground and to offer the service to people in Labrador West.
Customers leaving the store were smiling and said there would be some celebrating to mark this day in Canada’s history.
A second facility for Labrador is slated to open in Happy Valley-Goose Bay sometime in December, at last report.