Cannabis lovers and the canna-curious take note: Qualicum Beach’s first-ever pot shop, QualiCanna, is set to open on Sunday, Aug. 3.
QualiCanna is owned and operated by former marine biologist and Nanoose Bay resident Clayton Brenton and his son, Dallin Brenton. The two both have roots in Qualicum Beach. Clayton went to high school in Qualicum Beach and Dallin was born in Dashwood.
QualiCanna will sell 31 different types of bud, with an even mix of indica-dominant (the sleepy kind) and sativa-dominant (the energizing kind) strains as well as hybrids of the two. They will also carry a range of pre-rolled joints in different sizes.
For those who aren’t interested in smoking but still want to give cannabis a try, QualiCanna will sell 25 different types of oils and capsules as well as an oral spray. The capsules will be a mix of CBD oil (a non-psychoactive extract from the cannabis plant that does not produce a high) and an oil that contains a mix of CBD and THC.
The products all come from federally licensed sources across Canada.
“We’ve tried to focus a good amount of the selection from B.C. growers. We understand that keeping local is kind of big for a lot of people,” said Dallin.
Clayton is excited to offer a variety of products that are safe, tested, and tracked from seed to sale. All cannabis products sold in legal stores come with individualized barcodes so their history is completely traceable.
Clayton says they’ve had plenty of local interest, and are looking forward to providing a safe experience for consumers.
“There’s a lot of people who either have never consumed cannabis before, or did it in the ‘60s and ‘70s. They’re reluctant to go to the grey market dispensaries, because they really don’t know the history of the product. This is going to be an opportunity for them to get back into it in their older age, and have confidence in the product they’re buying. And we like that — that’s something that’s important to us,” said Clayton.
The road to becoming a legal cannabis retailer wasn’t an easy one, with both Brentons talking about some bumps and growing pains in the process of becoming provincially licensed. It took about nine-and-a-half months from when they applied in October to their conditional federal acceptance at the end of May.
The store was slated to open on July 27, but the two say there is a backlog across Canada for employees to obtain certification to work in cannabis retail. All employees of legal cannabis stores must go through a government certification process that is fairly extensive.
“When they do the security checks… they’re really trying to keep the crime element out and make sure that anybody who’s working in these places is not affiliated with organized crime,” said Clayton.
They’re hopeful that certification for their employees will happen any day now. The Brentons say they will employ approximately a half-dozen local people.
Although the federal process was trying at times, they both say working with the Town of Qualicum Beach has been an exceptional experience.
“You cannot speak glowingly enough about Qualicum. They’ve been amazing,” said Dallin.
QualiCanna has a 24-month lease at the town-owned property on 124 Harlech Rd. It’s also an exclusive deal with the town, meaning that no other cannabis retailers will be allowed to operate in Qualicum Beach for at least two years.
Clayton says the support from the community, including citizens and local businesses, has been wonderful.
“We get 10 to 20 people per day… banging on the door, and coming in, and saying ‘we can’t wait until you get open.’ They just really want us to be here… We get people in their 70s and 80s stopping by in in their wheelchairs, asking when we’re going to be open,” said Clayton.
“Everybody’s been so supportive of what we’re going to do here. That’s been a big influence on us going ahead and doing it, is the support from people, and realizing there’s a need for it.”