Marijuana dispensaries have been active in Toronto for many years. While some applied to operate commercially as medical marijuana-related businesses, others sold marijuana to anyone claiming to suffer from nausea or insomnia. One or two discreet locations would simply buzz you through to a back room if their concierge deemed you “cool” or “420 friendly”.
With the first official legal cannabis retailers set to open in early April, we cannot help but think of those that came before. Cafe 66, Cloud 6ix, The Bud Station, Lounge 420. These are just a few of the businesses that were catering to the public until October of 2018, when police raided and shut down 11 dispensaries across Toronto.
Since the legalization of cannabis in October, Ontarians have been able to purchase marijuana and marijuana related products online. However, according to the Financial Post, many Torontonians insist that they would rather purchase cannabis from storefront retailers and shops rather than order their flower online.
As of next month, the long wait will finally be over. The new cannabis retailers set to open this April look elegant, sleek, and want to curate each patron’s visit regardless of their level of experience; from the cannabis connoisseur to a casual or first time smoker, and everyone in between, these companies want to welcome the masses to the world of legal weed. Soon enough, you won’t have to line up outside a dingy looking shop in Kensington Market and fill out a faulty questionnaire in order to buy weed. If you are of legal age, you’ll be able to simply walk in, present your ID, and knowledgeable service staff will welcome you into a beautifully designed storefront. These Budtenders and cannabis aficionados are ready to give you any information that you may require about specific strains, their effects, and even instruct you on how to roll a proper joint. These shops will also carry papers, bongs, pipes, vaporizers, and any other smoking paraphernalia that you may desire.
If you are visiting the Big Smoke and looking for a legal brick-and-mortar cannabis retailer, then here are a few that have already gathered quite a buzz about their bud.
Fire & Flower
The white windows of the new Fire & Flower store found at 95 Bloor Street West mask the shop’s interior, but a video wall situated above the storefront displays the Fire & Flower logo and heralds the arrival of this highly anticipated retailer. If the crisp and clean design of other Fire & Flower stores across the country are any precursor to what’s coming, we can expect a white, wide open space peppered with showcases that are accented with crisp cedar wood. Combining elegant, contemporary design with a nod to nature, the space itself should provide a soothing atmosphere where all are welcome to explore whichever product may best suit them. Fire & Flower is known for its focus on education about marijuana usage for experts and newcomers alike. Its website highlights a devotion to customer care; along with providing educational materials, employees even offer complimentary educational workshops. You may have to book an appointment, but who doesn’t want to learn everything there is to know about getting high?
Nova Cannabis is set to open at 499 Queen Street West. Nova Cannabis stores are known for their dapper aesthetic blended with elements of nature, culminating in a streamlined yet peaceful setting. Octagonal wooden tables topped with a glass layer function as display cases for smoking accessories; along the walls are wooden panels that hold product cards, and a wooden counter topped with sleek black laptops functions as the store’s checkout. The company’s two shops in Alberta even have a few trees placed around the space, and a blue curtain hides the store from the eye of the public. No one is certain of what this new location will hold, but judging by past designs, Nova Cannabis won’t disappoint.
Tokyo Smoke began with a father-son duo’s belief that cannabis usage can improve the lives of consumers. Deciding to start a business together, they quit their jobs, designed a café in Old Toronto that dealt in high quality coffee and weed accessories, and have been inspiring the masses with their love of cannabis ever since. Now, four years later, they’ve designed their own signature collection of accessories, opened several cannabis retail shops across Manitoba, and even have their own branded cannabis that won Brand of the Year at the 2017 Canadian Cannabis Awards. These guys are passionate about pot, and the elevated designs of their shops resemble high end boutiques — thin tablets along a large, oval table function as the checkout, giving the centre of the space a minimalist appearance. Two-tiered display cases hold refined smoking accessories that look more like exquisite vases than bongs. Black shelves stand out against stark white walls, and illuminated from above, containers of specific strains are arranged in columns that attract the eye. These groups of flower are organized into five categories that reflect a customer’s desired effect, or “intent”: Go, Rise, Equalize, Ease, and Pause. Their dedication to being different and their innovative approach to retail are why so many people are excited to see the new space, set to open at 333 Yonge Street in the former HMV flagship store space.
Other notable retailers include…
The Hunny Pot Cannabis Co.
Just ten minutes down the road from Nova, the Hunny Pot is situated across the street from the iconic Friendly Stranger Cannabis Culture Shop at 202 Queen Street West.
Rejoice, Yorkville! 20 Cumberland Street is the proposed location for this retailer.