Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/12/2018 (663 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The first retail pot store on an urban reserve in Winnipeg opened Friday at noon exactly, with jokes about "high noon" and chuckles over the playful street address of the new outlet.
Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches held a broad green satin ribbon at one end and the chief of its partner Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN), Onekanew Christian Sinclair, held the other end so the new store’s manager could snip the ribbon for the grand opening.
"We’d like to welcome Chief Christian Sinclair from OCN and we’d like to thank you very much for the great partnership with National Access Cannabis (NAC). It will do a lot of good for Long Plain First Nation for years to come through employment in a new emerging industry. Everybody is excited about that," the Long Plain chief said.
The urban reserve outlet is in a trailer with NAC’s large META retail sign printed on a banner in the brand’s navy blue and gray colours.
The location is on Long Plain’s three-acre urban reserve, adjacent to a college and a very busy Petro-Canada gas station. It’s also the proposed location for a future hotel and office complex where Long Plain leaders expect the META store will find a permanent home.
Long Plain snagged 420 for a street address on Madison, in a pun on the date 4/20.
April 20 is an annual day of celebration in the cannabis culture, when activists toke up in public — and before recreational marijuana became legal in Canada this fall, in open defiance of criminal laws against pot use.
The number was "a perfect address for anyone who can read between the lines," the Opaskwayak chief said to chuckles from a packed audience.
While it’s the first store on an urban reserve in Winnipeg, the outlet is the second recreational pot store on an urban reserve for Long Plain First Nation, which runs another one near Portage la Prairie, 100 kilometres west of Winnipeg.
It’s the third First Nations store in the province launched with National Access Cannabis under its retail META brand; the other is at OCN, 530 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. NAC is partly owned by OCN.
NAC operates five marijuana retail outlets in the province under the META brand.
"We recognize this site as being one of the premier spots in all of Manitoba, being located (on) what we call the largest urban reserve in Canada," OCN’s Sinclair said Friday.
"Based on the economic success of their initiatives here — their petro fuel station — the same volume of business (will be) replicated at the META location here," Sinclair predicted.
The opening brings to 15 the number of retail pot stores in Manitoba, including 10 in Winnipeg.
Meanwhile, competitor Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. said Friday it had received conditional approval from the province to open a 16th store in Brandon.
The new store planned for Brandon’s Shoppers Mall is a "superstore," similar to Delta 9’s superstore in the St. Vital area of Winnipeg.
"At 4,800 square feet in size, the cannabis outlet will be the largest in Manitoba and will include an on-site cannabis education centre offering courses on cannabis use and safety for the general public," a statement from Delta 9 said.
Back at the new Meta store, Cindy Allard, general manager for Winnipeg’s Long Plain urban reserve, made the symbolic first purchase — a pre-rolled joint and 3.5-gram container of bud for $56 plus change. She paid the five per cent GST. The second purchase, for $30, was made by a customer with a treaty tax card that exempts GST.
Long Plain’s chief said he’s not worried about the newest outlet opening up in a saturated market.
"I think we’ll get a lot of treaty customer traffic. There’s a large neechi market out there and that’s what we’re going to draw on," Meeches said.
Market saturation isn’t a concern for Delta 9, either. It’s waiting for a green light from the province on two more stores, one for Winnipeg and another for Thompson.
Updated on Friday, December 7, 2018 at 5:48 PM CST: Adds photo
10:48 PM: Fixes date of 4/20
December 8, 2018 at 9:22 AM: Final
The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.
Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.