Cannabis in Ontario has been legal since October 17, 2018, the same day that the drug was legalised in the rest of Canada. However, restrictions in Ontario meant that weed was only available for purchase online, through the government's website.
The Ontario government passed legislation that would enable 25 stores to open their doors starting April 1.
Though the inauguration of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores was off to a shaky start today, the Ontario stores already look way cooler than the SQDC.
READ ALSO: Gas Prices Are Skyrocketing In Ontario, Still Cheaper Than Gas In Quebec
TL;DR The opening of brick-and-mortar weed stores in Ontario put the SQDC to shame with their beautiful displays, tongue-in-cheek slogans and punny names. Though permit issues mean that only 10 stores will open today, out of the 25 stores that were given licenses.
Because of national supply issues, only 25 privately-owned stores were given licenses to open on April 1. The licenses were issued by a lottery system. The Ontario government says that there will be no limit to the number of stores that can open in the province.
Out of the 25 stores that were given a license, only 10 will open today. The other 15 stores are still working through the lengthy admissions process.
The inauguration is therefore off to a shaky start, much like the SQDC. And, like the SQDC, the lines outside Toronto's Hunny Pot this morning were long:
A few people have already begun lining up outside the Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. on Queen West, the only store in Toronto ready to open, in the hopes of becoming the first to buy legal weed from a retail store in Ontario. The store opens at 9 a.m. https://t.co/o3dPQRtMwU pic.twitter.com/RiYXJ3ofUa— CityNews Toronto (@CityNews) April 1, 2019
Customers have been filing in all day to get a look at Ottawa's only open cannabis shop.
Again, with the freedom to play with the names of stores, Ottawa get to look forward to a shop called "Fire and Flower," unlike our boring and sterile SQDC.
On Day 1 of Cannabis stores opening in Ontario - Fire and Flower in the Byward Market is averaging more 100 customers each hour. pic.twitter.com/2LAw0LvWn6— Judy Trinh (@JudyTrinhCBC) April 1, 2019
The comparisons between Ontario and Quebec stop there. The layouts of the Ontario stores are beautiful.
They are less ascetic than the SQDC, with displays and designs that seem high-end.
Even the outside of the store looks cute.
Unlike the SQDC on Sainte-Catherine that barely has a sign outside.
Think I might need to make a trip to the Hunny Pot this week...— Tina Marie 🏳️🌈 (@Ms_Tina_Marie_) April 1, 2019
"A look inside Toronto's first legal cannabis shop" https://t.co/YsEfGxON9x
Aside from cute names like "potcierge" and "budtender," the employees at one store have been customising their t-shirts with "weed jokes."
the employees at the hunny pot all have weed jokes on their uniforms like “I run on weed & gangsta rap” pic.twitter.com/lOF7I6aXbQ— 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐚 𝐤𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐧𝐚𝐧 (@ManishaKrishnan) April 1, 2019
To be honest, this guy above could have done a little better with his shirt slogan. What a wasted opportunity.
However, it appears that these upscale elements come with a higher price tag. The price of weed is much higher in Ontario.
3.5g of the dried flowed comes out to between $22 and $35, whereas in Ontario the average price is closer to $40-$50.