'They're going to be hungry': Nearby restaurants celebrate as first West Island SQDC outlet opens in Pointe-Claire

The first legal, recreational cannabis shop on the West Island opened on Monday.

Unlike the opening of busier outlets, few customers lined up outside the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) outlet on its first day. Its located in a strip mall, at the corner of Sources Boulevard and St-Louis Avenue, in Pointe-Claire.

"It's just a matter of convenience," the first customer in line said. "Up to this point, you had to plan your day or make a voyage into town."

But the outlet is likely to draw more customers in the coming weeks. Between June and Sept. 2019, the SQDC made more than $60 million in sales.

Nearby restaurants welcomed the potential business that could come as a result of a nearby cannabis store. "We know that it's going to bring more business," one man said. "People are going to come, and they're going to be hungry after smoking."

By the end of March 2020, there will likely be 43 SQDCs across the province; 100 by 2023, SQDC spokesperson Fabrice Giguere said. Those stores won't have the same stock issues that forced some outlets to close in the months following legalization temporarily, he added. "When we open a new store, it opens with the shelves fully loaded, and we are opening all our stores seven days a week," he said.

For the West Island, the store is a novelty, but already, customers are comparing it to the SAQ. "It's like going to the liquor store to get a bottle of wine," one customer said. "I want a couple of nice glasses of wine with my meal. Well, I want to chill out at home and have a smoke."