New mall in Victoria sells 'high' quality pot products
'There is going to be more need for businesses like ours,' one owner says
At Canna Mall in Victoria, every store sells only marijuana products — a first of its kind in Canada.
The mall, which opened in April, has grown from one business to six, and services offered include vapour lounges and hydroponics equipment.
The mall markets itself as a one-stop shop for "high" quality weed products and has attracted vendors despite the current lack of regulations in the marijuana industry.
Ashley Abraham, owner of Green Ceiling Vapour Lounge, was the first vendor in the mall and told Robyn Burns, host of CBC's All Points West, the concept "grew organically" as other like-minded businesses took notice.
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Like most other malls, there is security on hand at all times for customer and vendor safety, said Abraham, who noted that all shoppers must be prepared to show photo identification to prevent sales to minors.
No business licence
The city of Victoria has plans to regulate marijuana dispensaries, while at the federal level, Ottawa is poised to legalize recreational marijuana.
Abraham was unable to secure a business license from the city. Officials told her that her business did not fit into any of its categories.
She compared the current prohibition on marijuana to alcohol prohibition in the early part of the 20th century. She noted that when liquor was eventually legalized again, places to buy and consume it were in high demand.
"As we move into a regulatory framework ... there is going to be more need for businesses like ours," she said.
Located at the intersection of Quadra and Balmoral streets, Abraham said vendors are cooperating with other local businesses in the area to host art and music events and bring "some really good energy into the community."
The city will be holding a public hearing on marijuana dispensary regulations in September.
With files from All Points West