As It Happens

Why a Montreal florist is fielding an influx of calls from customers looking for weed

They're florists, but since legalization, a Montreal couple has been inundated with calls from people confused about why their store is called The Flower Pot.

The Flower Pot's name is fuelling misperception online that it is a cannabis dispensary

Pia Teichmann in her Montreal floral shop The Flower Pot, which she says costumers are mistaking for a cannabis store. (Submitted by Pia Teichmann)
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The Flower Pot is exactly what it sounds like — a place to buy flowers.

But over the last month, the Montreal store's owners, Pia Teichmann and her husband Herbert, have fielded calls from some confused potential customers who've been misguidedly focused on the third word in that seemingly straightforward name.

Pia Teichmann spoke with As it Happens host Carol Off about how cannabis legalization has affected their business. Here is some of their conversation.

What did you do when people started calling and asking for marijuana?

In the beginning, we didn't know how to handle it, because we had no idea why they would call The Flower Pot.

But then I'll be, "No, I'm sorry you have the wrong place. We are florists. You would have to phone somebody else for it."

We didn't know how to handle it. We said, 'No, you have the wrong place. We are a florist, and we don't carry that.'- Pia  Teichmann, co-owner of Montreal's The Flower Pot

So they thought because your shop is called The Flower Pot that you were selling pot.

Yes, and I guess it really is because of Google.

We have pot in our name and if people search for "pot," maybe that's why we came up.

But I put in, "Where do I find weed?" — because that's what one customer told me; he said he put in, "Where do I buy weed?" — and we showed up.

Well, how did you react when people started calling you up for dope?

We didn't know how to handle it. We said, "No, you have the wrong place. We are a florist, and we don't carry that."

But we also had one woman asking us in French, "How long is the lineup? How many people are waiting right now at your store?"

I said, "Why?"

She said, "Well, I'm looking for some oils."

The Flower Pot in Montreal doesn't sell cannabis, but that hasn't stopped curious customers from calling to ask about weed and oil. (Google Street Maps capture)

Now there are big lineups in Montreal at the places where they are selling. But are there big lineups at your shop?

No, we don't sell pot! [laughs]. We sell flowers, plants, balloons, chocolates ... all kinds of things, but no oils, or no cannabis.

So do you tell people where they can go?

No, I would just say, "Please, look it up." Here it is government controlled too, eh?

But Pia, you know there's a lot of money to be made in selling pot.

That's right — this is what we said, it would be nice to make the money!

Well, have you considered it? Maybe you should start growing some marijuana plants. 

Yeah! [laughs] There's actually a plant, Plerandra elegantissima, and the foliage looks a little bit the same as pot plants. So it's similar, but it won't give you what you're looking for.

A man smokes his first legal joint after buying it from a government cannabis store in Montreal on Oct. 17. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

It won't make you stoned. Now, have you ever tried?

To be honest, I tried years and years ago [with] a group of friends. But all it did to me — and I was really very upset — I was trying to solve a little mathematical issue. And I was not able. It made it clear to me I would never try it again.

Maybe it's different now when you get into oils and all kinds of things. Maybe there's some interesting experiences to be had.

I'm sure there is. But I really don't need it. I'd rather drink a glass of wine. Or eat a box of chocolates if I need the pleasure. [laughs]

So if you're not interested in trying it, maybe selling it? You've got a fridge, you know your plants, you know how to grow them. Maybe you should get into the business. 

Don't tempt me. We'll stick with what we have.

Well it sounds like it's pretty good publicity for you.

Somebody said, "Actually I have no special reason to order flowers, but I read your article and I thought it's about time to send some flowers to my wife."

Written by Sarah Jackson and Kevin Ball. Interview produced by Sarah Jackson and Chris Harbord. Q&A edited for length and clarity.

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