Montreal's first 4 pot stores will be located near Metro stations
Société Québécoise du Cannabis shops will be ready to open by summer
Montreal has reached an agreement with the SAQ over the location of the city's first four legal pot shops.
The city confirmed they'll be located near four Metro stations: Berri-UQAM, Radisson, Jean-Talon and Lionel-Groulx.
"We're talking about places [where] there was already drug consumption happening," said Robert Beaudry, the executive committee member responsible for government relations.
The city consulted with the police, representatives from universities and community groups as well as toxicologists before approving the sites, he said.
No exact locations have been identified.
"Starting now, the SAQ will be looking at spaces that are open and vacant," he said.
The stores will be ready as early as July 1, or whenever the federal legislation passes legalizing the sale of cannabis.
Quebec opted not to allow private sellers to set up shop to dispense cannabis, instead controlling the distribution through the SAQ-managed Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQC).
Retail stores and online sales
The SQC will open 15 physical stores around the province where cannabis products will be sold and will also offer online sales. The government has said there could be more stores in the future.
The legal age to buy pot in Quebec will be 18, the same as alcohol.
Beaudry said the city and the SAQ are already in talks over adding more stores.
"We'll do the same process — have it analyzed by our experts," he said.
Further stores could be approved to open simultaneously with the four already announced or a few weeks later, he said.
The federal government had hoped to have the legislation in place for July 1 of this year, but a delayed senate vote means the earliest retail sales could be up and running is likely August.