Ottawa

Lineups for opening day at Ottawa's 3 retail cannabis shops

All three private retail cannabis shops permitted to open in Ottawa as of today did so on time, while elsewhere in Ontario, some stores aren't yet ready for customers.

Shops open for business in Centretown, ByWard Market and Wellington West

People line up for the opening of the Hobo Recreational Cannabis Storeon April 1, 2019. (Laurie Fagan/CBC)

All three private cannabis shops permitted to open in Ottawa as of today did so on time, while elsewhere in Ontario, some stores aren't yet ready for customers.

Cynthia Judge lined up outside the Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store on Bank Street at 7 a.m.

It's the same space the illegal cannabis dispensary Cannabis Culture used to operate out of before it was raided by police and its owners were evicted.

A former employee at Cannabis Culture, Shawn MacAleese, told CBC News he has doubts about the new store.

"They should be just as good as going to the LCBO and being able to talk to someone about wine," he said.

"I'm interested to see if they actually do know what they're talking about. I have good reason to believe that some of them might not."

Shawn MacAleese, a former employee of Cannabis Culture, an illegal cannabis dispensary that was evicted from a storefront on Bank Street, said he's critical of the new, legal shop. (Laurie Fagan/CBC)

Cynthia Judge, who lined up outside the Hobo shop at 7 a.m., said she's excited for the safety and security that comes with buying cannabis legally.

"It's clean, no fentanyl, nothing in the pot, and I've been smoking for at least 25 years, so I'm very, very anxious for this," Judge said.

Tarek Hassan said he has no problem with cannabis shops, but he finds the name Hobo "offensive."

"It's a derogatory name for homeless folks, and it's gentrifying [the area]. And it's offering something that a lot of people enjoy, but at a gentrified price. So there's just a lot packed in there that's pretty offensive," he said.

Residents flocked to Ottawa's new legal cannabis retailers on April 1 and while many were hopeful about what they'd find, others were more skeptical. 1:43

Harrison Stoker, who works for Hobo's parent company Donnelly Group, said they wanted to use the name Hobo years ago for a potential boutique hotel, and were inspired by a magazine in Vancouver with the same name.

"Also we have an appetite for the disruptive and the edgy, and something that really just starts a dialogue as well, which I think Hobo has done," Stoker said.

Police called to Superette over the weekend

Drummond Munro, who owns the Superette retail shop on Wellington Street W., said a minor incident over the weekend required a police response.

A window was broken and temporarily boarded up, but has since been replaced, Munro said.

People line up outside the Superette retain cannabis store on Wellington Street W. Monday morning. (CBC News)
A look inside the Superette shop. (Audrey Roy/Radio-Canada)
Employees at Fire & Flower cannabis store in the ByWard Market say much of their job is educating consumers about cannabis and making sure new users are comfortable with what they're purchasing. 0:44
People line up outside the Fire & Flower retail cannabis shop on York Street in the ByWard Market for opening day. (CBC News)
Customers wait to be served inside Fire & Flower. (Audrey Roy/Radio-Canada)

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