Toronto's one and only pot shop opens its doors
The weed is on full display at The Hunny Pot, Toronto’s first legal brick-and-mortar cannabis store.
Over four floors on the trendy Queen Street West strip, customers in the country’s most populous city can now browse for marijuana openly and legally in-person for the first time.
Educational posters lined the walls, products were presented stylishly, including a golden blunt on a small pedestal. Dozens of staff dubbed “budtenders” waited to serve a line of customers – including one who set up a tent to hold a spot in line overnight -- before the doors opened at 9 a.m. on Monday. The queue stretched around the building.
Owner Hunny Gawri has a momentary domination of the brick-and-mortar cannabis industry in Toronto before other planned stores open in the city. And his team was ready and anxious to open the doors.
“The day is finally here,” he told CP24. “Whether we have two people or 10,000 people -- we’re prepared.”
The first customer was a staged purchase planned by the store’s PR company. The woman chose 1 gram of the popular “White Widow” hybrid strain of cannabis and paid in cash. Genuine customers began filling the shop Monday morning, including people from the U.S. The “budtenders” check your ID at the counter and will create a profile for the purchaser, but you need not give your real name.
“You can give a name, a first name, a last initial, you can call yourself Spider-Man if you’d like to,” said communications rep Cameron Brown.
The store is the first of several planned stores in Toronto and the only to complete the approval process in time for the April 1 opening date. A store in Brampton, Ont., and Burlington, Ont., also opened their doors today. Stores that fail to open today could face initial fines of more than $12,000, according to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
Though supply issues have plagued the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) since legalization in October, Hunny Pot owner Gawri isn’t concerned. He’s confident in the Ontario government’s decision to limit licences for stores to 25 and understands that they plan to bring on more licenced producers.
“From what we’ve ordered, we think it’s a decent amount of supply,” he said. “From my conversations with (the OCS) they’ve been very confident in the supply. They’ve been very open in communication.”
For now Gawri is glad he’s playing a part in breaking down a cannabis stigma.
“Having a retail experience like this – we want to make it as easy as buying shoes or clothes,” he said.