Cannabis store opens in Vernon

Sarah and Carson Ballantyne are now selling cannabis to customers at their Vernon Spiritleaf store. It’s the first licensed cannabis store to open in the Okanagan.

Business was brisk on a special Canada Day for the owners and hundreds of customers at Spiritleaf, the first cannabis retail outlet to open in the Okanagan Valley.

Owners Carson and Sarah Ballantyne were thrilled with the response as their new cannabis retail outlet opened for business Monday morning at 2500 53rd Ave., in the north end of Vernon.

“We opened at 9 a.m. and there has been a steady flow of traffic from the time we opened the doors,” said Sarah in a phone interview late Monday afternoon. “We’re really glad to finally be open and to be able to serve our customers.”

Ballantyne said customers on opening day came from across the region.

Spiritleaf is a cannabis retail company with stores across Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C., and it is hoping to open new stores in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Penticton.

The City of Kamloops had the first government-owned and operated cannabis retail outlet to open anywhere in the province on Oct. 17 of last year.

“We had not only people from Vernon, but many who made the trip from Summerland, Peachland, West Kelowna and Kelowna, and we even had a few come in from Kamloops as well,” said Ballantyne.

While minor upgrades and renovations had been made over the past 12 months, things got really busy over the past week as the provincial government finally approved their business licence, she said.

“We only had to make a few minor renovations since we got the licence, but we’ve been working on getting the location ready for almost a year now,” she said.

The outlet is now stocked with a variety of strains, pre-rolls, oils and capsules, as well as many accessories.

Samples of the bud are on display in easy-to-view “sensory jars,” and customers can also smell the various strains of cannabis up for sale, she said.

Ballantyne and her husband have hired four employees and hope to add more once the word spreads that Spiritleaf is open for business, she said.

Spiritleaf will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

The Spiritleaf website says the goal is to be a knowledgeable and trusted source of recreational cannabis and information on recreational cannabis.

Spiritleaf’s parent company, called Inner Spirit Holdings, is also developing its own line of cannabis brands.

Customers can check out all products being offered for sale in the store and prices online at www.leafly.com.