Donnelly Group approved for its first two Hobo cannabis stores in Vancouver

The city's first Hobo Cannabis shops will be located on Granville Street and Main Street

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      A cannabis dispensary chain touting a controversial name has been approved for its first two locations in Vancouver.

      In March, lounge and pub operator Jeff Donnelly, head of the Donnelly Group, announced he was getting into the weed business with a series of stores under the name: Hobo Cannabis.

      According to a release, eight stores are planned for Metro Vancouver and a ninth in Kamloops. 

      The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) updated its list of stores approved to open in the province and it now includes Donnelly's first two locations: 4296 Main Street and 8425 Granville Street.

      Also added to the list is a Muse Cannabis Store (a venture unrelated to Donnelly) to be located on 3039 Granville Street.

      Donnelly told Business in Vancouver in an interview he has his sights set on a nationwide cannabis chain—the first Hobo location launching in Ottawa. He added, however, licensing systems in other provinces may be trickier to navigate.

      "We can't get into Manitoba now, or Saskatchewan, or Nova Scotia," he said to BIV. "Quebec is completely shut off as it is all public. Everywhere we can go we’ve got our fingers in."

      The name of the proposed chain came under fire on Twitter after it was announced, some commenters calling it insensitive of Vancouver’s homeless population and the gentrification of the Downtown Eastside.

      Harrison Stoker, vice-president of brand and culture at Donnelly Group, responded in a statement: "The term 'hobo' dates back to the 1920s, and describes a travelling worker. The word evokes a sense of wanderlust, and implies a passion for the journey over the actual, final destination.”

      The Donnelly Group owns more than a dozen pubs, clubs, and barbershops in Vancouver, and several more ventures in Toronto.

      This brings the number of approved private cannabis licences in the city to six.

      As the aforementioned three stores have received provincial approval, the only step left in the process is obtaining a municipal business licence from the City of Vancouver. Once local regulators grant the final licence, the stores are clear to open.

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