Second of 5 Licensed Pot Dispensaries Opens for Business in Toronto

The second of five licensed pot dispensaries in Toronto, opened its doors to customers today and Newstalk1010 was there.

Ameri opened at 20 Cumberland Street, near Bay and Bloor in Yorkville, just after 9:30 this morning. They were initially planning a "soft opening", says Rob, a consultant with Ameri. 

"We were going to do a soft opening and not tell anybody and people started showing up at our door and asking questions and then it became apparent that because of the construction (on Cumberland between Yonge and Bay Streets), a slow day like Sunday was probably preferable."

Ameri staff prepare to welcome customers on opening day

Heather Seaman

A minor glitch with their point-of-sale computer system delayed the opening by a few minutes, but things were up and running quickly.

25 to 30 people were lined up outside, before the doors opened. 

Mark is one of the many customers happy to see another licensed shop opening: "Obviously alot of people are pretty upset, I guess, that the illegal ones are shutting down and everything like that, so it's gonna be good that you can get it in a legal way and it will be less hassle for everybody."

Dylan said, "I feel a lot safer going here than meeting someone on the street (to buy cannabis)."

The first licensed pot dispensary in Toronto, Hunny Pot, opened for business on April 1st - the day all stores in Ontario were expected to open their doors.  

When asked if they're a little jealous about the large crowds Hunny Pot had when they opened, Ameri consultant Rob said they're not bothered at all. 

"We're not the brick warehouse of pot dispensaries. We don't want to cater to huge volumes of people. We're in a boutique neighbourhood. We want people to come and enjoy their experience more than lining up on a dusty sidewalk."

Ameri's is a cozy space - small but bright - with only one level. There are a few stairs to enter the building, which could pose a problem for people with disabilities. But staff are ready to serve any of their customers. There's also security check area when you enter the building, where you'll have to show your identification, before going inside.

Rob, noted that even though the shop is in Yorkville, their customers come from all different backgrounds.

"People don't feel threatened any more because the product that they're buying is legal. They can carry it legally. They can smoke it pretty much where they can smoke a cigarette. The product has been inspected, packaged and approved by the government, so they know they're getting a decent product."

"It may be a little more expensive than what they had been used to paying, but that's just the way of the world."

2nd licensed pot dispensary to open in Toronto

Heather Seaman

Rob tells Newstalk1010 that a gram - depending on the strain and the grower - will cost you around $8 to $15 a gram.

Meanwhile, the other three dispensaries are waiting for final Government approval before they can open.