Vancouver Island's third BC Cannabis Store officially opened in Port Alberni Wednesday.
The government-run shop opened its doors at the Pacific Rim Shopping Centre at 3555 Johnston Rd. at 10 a.m.
The store opened with a staff of 12 employees and offers approximately 60 different strains of dried flower products along with all the standard BC Cannabis Store stock.
The store's regular operating hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
The province plans to open three more island stores in the coming months. One location in Parksville is slated to open at 826 Island Hwy. W in the winter or spring, according to the BC Liquor and Cannabis Distribution Branch (BCLDB).
Meanwhile, two BC Cannabis Store locations are slated to open in Nanaimo with one storefront to open in the spring and a second location to open in a yet-to-be constructed building with no opening date established yet.
Port Alberni's BC Cannabis Store opens one week after Courtenay's government-run shop opened its doors, and nearly one year after the RCMP shut down a number of unlicensed private cannabis retailers in the town.
On Oct. 18, 2018, the day after cannabis was legalized across the country, Mounties raided and ticketed two unlicensed marijuana dispensaries in Port Alberni.
In a news release at the time, the RCMP said they were enforcing the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act on the first day it came into effect at the town's Cannabis Club and Leaf Compassion dispensaries.
VIDEO: Surveillance cameras show RCMP yesterday raiding The #PortAlberni Cannabis Club. They confiscated all #cannabis products that were in plain site & were given a $575 fine. Only city allegedly in #Canada to be raid on #legalizationday @CTVNewsVI pic.twitter.com/gp6trf08I3— Andrew Garland (@CTVNewsAndy) October 18, 2018
Cannabis products were confiscated from both locations and each dispensary was served a $575 fine.
At the time, Leaf Compassion manager Erik Vesaranta said he was unsure why Port Alberni stores were targeted.
"The weird part is they only did it in Port Alberni and not anywhere else," said Veseranta, adding Leaf has other outlets in places like Victoria that weren't raided at the time. "We've had a business licence here for years now from the city and have never been touched."
More recently, on Aug. 1, the province shut down the largest chain of unlicensed cannabis dispensaries in Victoria, Trees Island Grown.
Five Trees locations across the city were closed while the chain's two Nanaimo locations were expected to do the same.
Back in August, Trees chief executive officer Alex Robb told CTV News that Trees planned to continue operating in Nanaimo where no other legal cannabis alternative are currently available.
"There is not a single licensed store in Nanaimo and the province indicated back in October that their enforcement would be guided by the licensing of stores in different regions," said Robb at the time. "So we are going to be watching the licensing of stores very carefully."
Eleven months into cannabis legalization, Victoria is home to just five licensed private cannabis retailers. Cloud Nine Collective, two Original Farm locations and two Clarity Cannabis stores.