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First cannabis shop in Kingston west end set to open

After a long process that included two unsuccessful lottery draws and delays due to COVID-19, Calyx + Trichomes owner Jennawae McLean is excited to finally open the doors to her government-approved cannabis retail shop on Midland Ave.

Despite the multiple hiccups, McLean has remained optimistic throughout the process to open what is now the third authorized cannabis shop in Kingston, and the only one in the west end. “We lost in the lottery, not once but twice, but other than that, the lottery was really the only hiccup. Everything else was relatively smooth,” said McLean. “The people at the AGCO and OCS were motivated to help, we submitted our application on Jan 6, 2020 and on Jan 8 they’d already been working on it – they were right on top of it.”

McLean explained that the approval process involved multiple applications, including a Retail Operator License, and a Manager’s License. While the Retail Operator License application was relatively quick, McLean said that the Manager’s License took somewhat longer. “My partner (Lorenzo Eavion) and I have been doing this for almost 11 years,” said McLean, “and because we came from a deregulated market, due to our previous cannabis activism our record wasn’t spotless.”

During the application process, McLean says she took solace in seeing other cannabis activists, some with similar or even lengthier cannabis-related records, obtain their licenses, and that their successes spurred her on and encouraged her through the uncertain times.

While Calyx + Trichomes has had its license in place for about a month, COVID-19 threw a big wrench in the store’s opening plans, McLean says. In early April, the Ontario government rescinded the “Essential Business” classification for cannabis shops, postponing her expected opening day. Additionally, renovations on the new retail space ground to a near-halt as construction companies and government officials worked through what kind of work was and was not permitted under changing COVID-19 restrictions.

But with those hurdles behind her, McLean is looking forward to continuing to do, with government approval, what she has done for over a decade. “Well, I’m approved by the Queen now,” she laughs when asked what will be different. And while the location has changed since her years at 420 Kingston on Princess St, and the store’s size has now doubled, she says a lot will stay the same. “We have always been super competitive in terms of variety and pricing. We will continue to have the lowest price guaranteed, and we will still have the same product knowledge.” In addition, McLean says Calyx + Trichomes will offer free delivery throughout Kingston for as long as it is permitted, all while obeying social distancing guidelines.

McLean expects that there will be strong demand for the service. “We’d like to thank people in advance for their patience, both because of the new retail environment and because of COVID-19, and please bear with us as we get the ropes down.”

Calyx + Trichomes, located at 1105 Midland Ave, opens at 11A.M. on Monday, June 1, 2020.

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