Hundreds turn out for Fort McMurray's 1st retail cannabis store

The sidewalk was lined up with customers on Wednesday as Fort McMurray residents waited for the region's first cannabis shop to open.

'I’m just pumped to get it now and I want to go home and try out some supply'

Matt Salem was one of the first customers at the new cannabis store in Fort McMurray. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

The sidewalk was lined  with customers Wednesday as Fort McMurray residents waited for the region's first cannabis store to open. 

Plantlife Cannabis officially opened at 4 p.m. after months of waiting.

The store has been sitting empty since November when a moratorium on new retail locations from Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis left Plantlife without a licence — until earlier this month. 

"Two weeks ago, they [AGLC] released another five licences. We were lucky enough to be one of the first five out of the gate," said Ian Scott, operations manager for the store.   

Scott said the store put in its order for products about 10 days ago and received the shipment Wednesday morning. 

People were lined up down the sidewalk waiting to get into Plantlife. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

Fort McMurray resident Steve Reeve lined up early to make sure he'd get into the store. 

He's been ordering cannabis online and he's happy to be able to buy it in person. But he said he's even happier for the store owners. 

"The signs have been up for months and months and months and then all of a sudden the moratorium came down and nobody could get any of their products," said Reeve. 

"They've just been floating a deficit for months now when it's supposed to be Canada's new big industry." 

Staff tried to get customers in and out quickly, as there was a lineup of people outside, waiting to get in. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

Scott said the store's parent company has been paying for the lease. He didn't know the cost of the lease but said it's "pricey."

He said he's not worried about falling short on stock because he trusts the government has been putting pressure on producers. 

"Every week more supply is coming to the market… There was a lot more [licensed cultivators] introduced to the Alberta market as well, kind of filling in the gap on that side."

Ian Scott, operations manager, said they were lucky enough to get one of the post-moratorium licences from the AGLC. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

In the first two hours about 400 or 500 customers went through the store. 

Matt Salem was among those who showed up early to make sure the store didn't sell out before he got there. 

"I want to get in there and get the good stuff first before anyone else," said Salem. 

"I'm just pumped to get it now and I want to go home and try out some supply."


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