Vancouver's first provincially licensed cannabis store delays grand opening by a week

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      Just before 11 a.m., three people were standing in the rain outside Evergreen Cannabis at 2868 West 4th Avenue.

      They were hoping to be the first customers inside Vancouver's first provincially licensed pot shop.

      One of those outside, Josh Hundert, told the Straight that he was "super stoked". That's because he was a member of Evergreen Cannabis Society—and was impressed by its products—before it closed in October as it went through the regulatory process.

      Hundert spoke glowingly about how Evergreen previously sourced high-quality craft cannabis grown without pesticides.

      "I'm interested to talk about that with them to hear how their process is going to change now that we're under a completely different regime, so to speak," Hundert said. "I'm curious to hear if they have some inside information that the end user doesn't have."

      But Hundert and the others outside didn't get their wish because the owners, the husband and wife team of Mike Babins and Maria Petrucci, decided to delay their grand opening for a week. A sign on the door, which wasn't initially noticed by the trio of customers, declared that the store will open its doors to the public next Saturday (January 5) at 11 a.m.

      After the group spotted the sign and wandered away, Babins and Petrucci arrived. They invited the Straight and camera operators from Omni and CBC Radio-Canada inside the store for interviews.

      The Straight asked Petrucci why the official opening was delayed.

      "Government officials still had a few last things to complete as they were on holidays—some documents and forms," she replied. "But it's just one more week."

      Josh Hundert was hoping to enter Vancouver's first provincially licensed cannabis store today, but he'll have to wait another week.
      Charlie Smith

      Petrucci also revealed that Evergreen Cannabis will carry at least one strain of organically grown cannabis, which is being supplied by a licensed producer to the wholesaler—the Liquor Distribution Branch of B.C.

      She added that she expects more strains of organic cannabis will become available in the future. She also noted that all the pot in their store will lab-tested by the government.

      "It will have gone through a pasteurization process," Petrucci said. "We've seen that it's high quality. What we've tried ourselves—we're really impressed."

      Babins, a native of Montreal, spent some of his time this morning doing an interview in French with the CBC Radio-Canada employee.

      The couple learned on Christmas Eve that they were the first in Vancouver to receive a provincial license to operate a private nonmedical cannabis retail outlet.

      Petrucci acknowledged that some of the products Evergreen carried in the past won't be available. That can't occur until the LDB sorts through its rules around topicals and oils.

      But the image of Bob Marley near the counter—so familiar to store visitors in the past—remains in place.

      In the meantime, there's a dispensary across the street that doesn't have a provincial licence, but neither Babins nor Petrucci would comment on that.

      "I can't speak about what other people are doing," Petrucci said.