Behind frosted windows, in pharmaceutical-esque packaging, are the first grams cannabis that will be legally sold on Bowen.
Friday, the Happy Isle Cannabis Company opens its doors, or at least flicks on its open sign.
Bowen’s first marijuana establishment, on Dorman Road, beside the Village Baker, has to adhere to strict federal and provincial legislation, which includes no minors passing the threshold, or even peering through the windows (hence the frosted windows).
Inside, a boutique vibe (designed by islander Jamie Smith) invites customers to smell, look and ask questions about the just over 20 strains of cannabis offered at the shop.
“The overall look is very warm and friendly and inviting,” said store manager Rob Forbes. “[We] didn’t want to make it too medicinal looking or anything like that.”
The selection is currently flower (dried marijuana), oils, tinctures and capsules. Edibles and concentrates aren’t yet legal for sale in Canada (though are expected to be later this year). The shop will have CBD (a non-psychoactive cannabinoid) and THC (a psychoactive cannabinoid) products. All of the products are government sourced and all of the staff thoroughly trained.
“One of the biggest things about educating people is knowing what they’re getting and what to expect when they take it,” said Forbes. “They’ll know exactly what they’re getting exactly what the CBD and THC level is going to be in every single package. So there’s no surprises. And that’s really important.”
“The selection is what I feel is going to be a big draw for people,” said Glenn Cormier, co-owner of Happy Isle (David Bellringer is the other owner). “There’s no secret that cannabis is readily available on this island. People have their own supplies and have their own plants in their backyards now and things like that. But I truly believe that what sets us apart…is going to be the selection and the quality of product.
“It’s like with anything. If there’s a someone who’s brewing beer in their basement, they’re not always doing it just because it’s cheaper. They do it because they love beer.
“I think people are going to be really pleasantly surprised at what’s actually available on the market, not just the bag from your buddy in a Ziploc bag,” said Cormier.
The store opens May 10 and is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. six days a week (closed Mondays).