Vancouver Island’s first provincial cannabis store is now open. 

The store opened today in Campbell River, the fourth store of its kind. Another store in Cranbrook opened 15 minutes before the Campbell River opening. 

Kevin Satterfield, BC Cannabis Stores director of retail operations, says the aim of each BC Cannabis Store is to focus on education and social responsibility. 

“It’s our differentiator: we’re really focused on information and education for the consumers so they’re aware of what they’re buying and what we sell,” Satterfield said. 

He adds that everything is designed and arranged in such a way that would help make customers feel comfortable and welcomed. 

“Safety and security of all products in the store is paramount for us in order to make sure the customers have a positive and safe experience when they come through.”

As soon as customers enter, one wall has panels with information on different strains, associated risks that may come with using cannabis products, the difference between THC and CBD, as well as different terpenes. 

Buds are available for customers to see under a microscope and to smell, but Satterfield says they don’t offer samples to take. 

“We’ve set the buds up in a way that they’re broken down by types of strains so you have indica, sativa, hybrid and high CBD. We do have our consultants who go around and help them with information and education.”

Satterfield says there are 18 other stores they want to open within the year, but it all depends on which municipalities they can get final approval from. 

The store has 84 varietals available for people to take a look at, but will expand to 96 in the future. Products available have all been approved by Health Canada and include dried flowers, pre-rolls, oils and capsules.

Sanjay Srivastada is a Campbell River resident and he says he’s excited that the store is finally here.

“I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. We have to drive down to Coombs to our only dispensary, and it’s bit of a pain to do that,” he said.

“I have a back injury and I’ve been off work for a year now and CBD and all that’s been really helping me. Trying to find it (cannabis) legally around here is pretty hard.”

The store is open from 10:00am to 7:00pm Monday to Thursday, from 10:00am to 9:00pm from Friday to Saturday, and from 11:00am to 6:00pm on Sundays. 

The BC Cannabis Store is located at Discovery Harbour Shopping Centre.