HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html As New York Mulls Legalizing Pot, Toronto Tokes Up
Pubdate: Mon, 17 Jun 2019
Source: Buffalo News (NY)
Copyright: 2019 The Buffalo News
Author: Maki Becker


TORONTO - Adam Ash, 37, wasn't the least bit shy in explaining why he
was at the Hunny Pot Cannabis Co., a four-story boutique on Queen
Street West in the middle of the city's downtown district.

"Marijuana," the Toronto resident said midday on a recent Monday, a
little bewildered as to why someone would even bother asking.

Glass containers of marijuana flower were laid out on tables
throughout the shop, amid glass cases of rolling papers, pipes, bongs,
grinders and vaporizers. Employees known as "bud tenders" worked the
floors, ready to provide advice and recommendations for picking just
the right strain.

While New York mulls becoming the 12th state in the U.S. to legalize
the adult, recreational use of marijuana, Canada legalized the use,
sale and growing of marijuana nationwide in October.

Regulations differ from province to province, but in Ontario, adults
19 and over can legally possess up to 30 grams - just over 1 ounce -
of dried cannabis, and they can smoke it anywhere it's legal to smoke
tobacco. That means you can light up right on the street. (If New York
legalizes marijuana, public smoking would not likely be allowed on
this side of the Peace Bridge. The current version of the proposed
Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act would not allow smoking
marijuana in public.)

Initially, the only way to legally purchase cannabis in the province
was through a website run by the government, the Ontario Cannabis
Store. Canadians could order marijuana and have it mailed to them.

Since then, Ontario decided to allow 25 dispensaries to open in the

Hunny Gawri, who got his start in the retail business with two
cellphone shops, entered the lottery for the chance to be among them.

"I knew I wanted to be a part of it," Gawri said.

In January, he got word he had won one of the coveted permits to get
into the legal marijuana industry but there was a caveat - he had just
under three months to get the store open, or face hefty fines for
being behind schedule. He made it just in time. On April 1, the Hunny
Pot became the first legal cannabis dispensary to open in Ontario.
There are now three more legal dispensaries in Toronto and one more
expected to open shortly, the maximum currently being allowed in the
city. The first legal dispensary in Niagara Falls, Ont., called Choom
Cannabis Co., opened over the weekend.

The store bills itself as a resource for cannabis education, with
store associates having completed extensive training.

Gawri didn't want to say exactly how business has been going, but he
said he is "not complaining."

As Canada continues to roll out new regulations, he's looking forward
to being allowed to get permits to build more stores.

"This is my flagship store," Gawri said of his shop on Queen Street

The Hunny Pot is located in a former New Era Cap store, sandwiched
between a juicery and a handpulled noodle shop in a bustling
neighborhood popular with tourists.

Customers must be 19 and are carded at the front door. Just inside
there's a counter for "express" service - popular with regulars who
know exactly what they want. That's about a third of their clientele,
said Cameron Brown, Hunny Pot's communications officer.

Other customers browse the line of offerings and get one-on-one
attention from a "bud tender" who will show them the array of
products, the kinds of marijuana available and help them select what
they might enjoy.

After consulting with bud tender Lexi Medici, Ash bought two
pre-rolled joints and 3 grams of a "Dreamweaver" marijuana. It set him
back $77 Canadian.

"It's pretty cool," he said of the sleekly designed

Business was brisk at the Hunny Pot last Monday, thanks in part to
some of those headed to Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Toronto
Raptors and Golden State Warriors at the Rogers Centre. Hundreds of
people lined up to get into the arena or the area set up for fans to
take in the game outside the Centre. The scent of marijuana wafted
from the crowds within plain sight of police officers.

Among the fans waiting in line was Daniel Endale, 19, who was enjoying
a small joint. He'd already been in line for a long time - "Five
hours," he said. In another line, a 19-year-old lit up a joint, as
others around him smoked, shared pizzas and snacks and tapped away on
their cellphones.

The marijuana at the Hunny Pot comes from the Ontario Cannabis Store.
The dispensaries can sell cannabis flower (bud) for smoking, cannabis
oil and capsules. Edibles, like gummies and sodas infused with THC,
aren't legal in Ontario as they are in places like California, but are
expected to be legalized later this year. Cartridges for vaping also
cannot be sold in stores but vaporizers that can be used with dried
flower are allowed.

Pre-rolled joints are an especially popular item with tourists, Brown
said. Those range in price for $12.65 Canadian for a three-pack of .25
gram-joints to $17.50 Canadian for one 1 gram joint of higher quality

The store has seen American tourists come across the border to make

"We can always see the influx of American cash on the weekends," Brown
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