Tamara Duggan, co-owner of Tamarack Cannabis Boutique in Marysville. Submitted file. Tamara Duggan, co-owner of Tamarack Cannabis Boutique in Marysville. Submitted file.

‘I was the guinea pig’: B.C. pot shop owner says cannabis licensing process wasn’t easy

Tamarack Cannabis Boutique in Cranbrook will be the first retail cannabis store in the province to be granted a licence from the provincial government

Kimberley was the first community in British Columbia to grant business licences to two medical marijuana dispensaries, Tamarack Dispensaries and Earth’s Own Naturals.

Now, Tamarack Cannabis Boutique will be the first retail cannabis store in the province to be granted a licence from the provincial government. They received it on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. And Earth’s Own will also be receiving their business licence, says owner Laurie Weitzel.

The process requires security screening and financial integrity checks, support from the local government or First Nation and a store inspection.

It’s been a bit of a slog through the process for Tamarack owners Rod and Tamara Duggan. Tamara says they applied shortly after the provincial government opened up the approval process in mid-August.

“It took until yesterday when they called to say approval had been granted,” she said. “On Tuesday night I had the inspection with Liquor and Cannabis BC and they said we were done, just go online, pay the annual licence fee and you’re good.”

However, she went online to discover that the site was down for testing.

READ MORE: 10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

READ MORE: Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

“I wouldn’t say the entire process was easy,” Duggan said. “Every time I completed one step, I would find out something else is required.

“They were only one step ahead of me the whole way. I was the guinea pig because I was first to apply. So to the folks who come behind me, you’re welcome.”

With all that behind them, the Duggans are excited to enter the new phase of their business, but will have to close until the product ordered through the government arrives. They were open, and very busy, on Thursday.

“I will now be closed until I receive the cannabis products,” she said Thursday. “They will probably arrive some time next week. It’s the first time for me to do that ordering, so there will probably be a few glitches. But because I am the first one order, I get the pick of the crop!”

Tamarack will have a grand re-opening as soon as the stock arrives.

WATCH: Inside a B.C.-based marijuana production facility

Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick is pleased to see the licences granted.

“Tamarack’s behaviour as a business, under difficult circumstances the last two and half years, has made them a model for other retailers,” he said.

“They have given tens of thousands of dollars to non-profits, given back to the community. This makes them a model for all other cannabis retailers.”

McCormick also says that the two businesses have operated in Kimberley for the past two and a half years and there have been absolutely no problems.

“In two and a half years, there has not been one formal complaint. Both have been awesome businesses.”

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