Canna Cabana planning to open dispensary in Lacombe

A concept design for High Tide Ventures Inc.'s Canna Cabana dispenaries. CNW Group/High Tide Ventures Inc.

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Lacombe could see its first pot shop open on 50 St.

High Tide Ventures Inc., known for its Smoker’s Corner shops, is hoping to capitalize on the soon-to-be budding cannabis industry by opening one of what will be a chain of dispensaries called Canna Cabana in the heart of downtown Lacombe.

A sign announcing the shop’s proposed arrival this fall recently appeared in the window of an empty building next door to the bowling alley, across the street from Cilantro and Chive.

“This was the first ever AGLC (Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission) application we submitted. We’re north of 30 as of now, so it was a milestone for us to submit that application,” said Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President of Capital Markets for High Tide Ventures Nick Kuzyk.

“We look forward to being part of the community when it’s approved.”

The application is just one of 37 retail cannabis licences High Tide has applied for – the maximum allowed under provincial regulations. It’s received provincial-level approval and is now awaiting the same at the municipal level.

Being billed as a modern dispensary with a “sophisticated, yet playful experience” for consumers, Canna Cabana is expected to offer a range of cannabis products at varying price points, as well as cannabis accessories – many of which High Tide has designed and created themselves – to be paired with appropriate products.

On Tuesday, artist renderings of store layouts were released on the Canna Cabana website. The design features a green and burnt orange colour scheme, wood grain finishing, and of course, numerous shelving and display cases for cannabis and cannabis accessories.

“We’re taking our 10 years of retail experience and making it an enjoyable experience for customers,” he said. “The Smoker’s Corner shops we’ve been running since 2009 have given us a head start on what customers like and don’t like with their retail experience in this category… It’s something we’re really happy with.”

The hope is it’s something the community will be happy with as well.

Although Lacombe has a fairly large older population, Kuzyk says it makes the community a niche market for cannabis.

“The older population is actually one of the larger growth markets for cannabis,” he said. “People are skeptical of pharmaceuticals and are trying to consumer more natural products. Cannabis is going to provide that opportunity.

“We’ll be happy to have conversations with people who are curious and want to pop in and take a look but not buy anything. People who do want to try something, we’ll be able to make sure they’re aware of their options and hopefully become a customer for the long term.”

A development permit application is ready to be submitted as soon as they receive municipal approval. If all works in their favour, they hope to open Canna Cabana in October when cannabis officially becomes legalized.

While there may be some concern over the dispensary’s proximity to the Yu-Turn Centre and other businesses, and opposition to cannabis, he says they’ll endeavour to be respectful neighbours.

“People should know we’re taking this very seriously. We understand it’s a privilege – the government has changed the law at the federal level. Industry – us and our peers – has a chance to do this right.”

There are also two more pending applications to the AGLC for retail cannabis licences in Lacombe made on July 25, 2018. Fuzzy Budz Inc. has applied for a shop at E-4912 50 Ave., and East L.A. Buds Inc. wants to place a shop in Bay A, 5206 Wolf Creek Drive. Any objections to either application may be made to AGLC by Aug. 15.

For more information on Canna Cabana, visit cannacabana.com.

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