Recently Canndora took a trip to the west coast and while we were in Vancouver we decided to take a tour and visit various cannabis retails. Being from Ontario where the number of cannabis retailers (pre and post legalization) are fairly scarce, we were excited to check out what makes Vancouver one of the top spots in the world for cannabis retailers and culture. In the name of research (of course!) we visited both licensed and non-licensed retailers and came away mightily impressed! Here are our top takeaways;
Knowledgeable, friendly staff
While the licensed retail staff were very friendly and helpful, they’re still only allowed to say so much in regards to how cannabis will make you feel. This isn’t the case though with non-licensed retail staff! It was great being able to talk openly about the plant with staff who really knew their stuff and were able to give solid recommendations about products.
Most of the retailers we visited were bright and clean with lovely décor. While we expected this of the new licensed retailers, we were pleasantly surprised by how on the ball the non-licensed retailers were with presentation. Our only previous experience with non-licensed retailers was in Toronto where the entire procedure was shrouded in unnecessary intrigue-many retailers are vaguely marked, you needed to be buzzed in and it wasn't uncommon to be taken to another room after a large security guard checked your ID thoroughly. The Vancouver experience was more open than what we have personally experienced in Toronto.
We found lots of great product at both licensed and non-licensed retailers. One of our motives for visiting Vancouver retailers (besides giving you all the details, of course) was to get our hands on Houseplant Sativa, which is Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s new strain and is currently only available in BC. Stay tuned for a product review of that in the coming weeks!
Spoilt for choice
We have to confess. We don’t know if we just were in the right place at the right time, but all the retailers we went to were fully stocked with tons of amazing products. Across the country, retailers are running out of stock; some even forced to close while waiting for new shipments or reducing store hours. This didn’t seem to be the case in Vancouver where bud seems to be plentiful and varied.
More Eco Friendly
Vancouver in general is more ecofriendly than most other Canadian cities so it isn’t surprising that their cannabis is the same. Most people agree that the restrictions the government put in place for LP cannabis packaging is excessive and wasteful, which is just one of the reasons many people aren’t yet buying cannabis legally. We picked up 3.5 grams of Houseplant Sativa and a BlissCo White Widow Pre-roll and the outer packaging of both products is biodegradable, and Houseplant’s is made from recycled, post-consumer waste. From non-licensed retailers we got a variety of pre-rolls, most of which came in reusable plastic tubes. We want to give a huge shout-out to Village Bloomery who gave us our product in the most adorable amber glass tube with a cork stopper! It became our go-to storage for our darlings when we are on the go- that is until it fell out of my purse and broke on the floor of a fancy restaurant with a joint in it, how's that for shattering stigma?
The biggest takeaway from our Vancouver fact finding mission is just how freakin’ normal it all was. Every retailer we went to was busy and most consumers knew exactly what they wanted. The vibe with customers was similar to the one at LCBO stores in Ontario; go in, grab your stuff and get out. No weird looks from people on the street if you enter or leave a store and even if you smelled like cannabis, nobody seemed to care. Coming from a city where there was outcry that a retailer was going to be A TWENTY-FIVE-MINUTE WALK from a high school, this level of acceptance is a novel concept for us. Now that we’ve tasted what’s on the other side, we are counting down the days until this becomes the norm in Ontario as well.
Photo: Behind the scenes as Canndora Community Manager,Tracy gets
shots of our adventures exploring the Vancouver cannabis scene.
A path to legality
One of the great things about BC is they’re giving non-licensed retailers a chance to become licensed. It seems like a difficult, time-consuming process but at least it exists! We spoke to several retailers currently in the process and we’re excited to see how things progress for them.
We want to send some love to a few of our favourite retailers we visited in Vancouver. These stores were beautiful, had great product and selection, and very friendly and knowledgeable staff. If you’re in the area you should definitely check them out!
Photo: While we were on our adventure we found a
fountain full of bubbles! It's unconfirmed if the Bubble
Bandit was ever found.
Big thanks to all our Vancouver friends who gave us recommendations for retailers to visit and thank you to all the staff members who made our journey into the Vancouver market a wonderful experience!
Exploring a new city is always a blast and having the right tools with you can make the experience even better; that's why Canndora launched the Hotbox Edition; beautifully curated with on the go favourites to make all sure all your summer adventures are elevated.