As the countdown to marijuana legalization continues, a new paraphernalia store is looking to help Yellowknifers who want to imbibe, do so in style.
Premium MJ, a shop aimed toward the sale of marijuana accessories and goodies, is planning to open its doors to the public next month.
Sara Murphy, 28, came across the idea of opening Premium MJ after the Government of Canada announced the legalization of marijuana. The owner of Yellowknife Tattoos and Harleys Hard Rock Saloon said she just wanted to make sure residents had the proper tools necessary to prepare for the anticipated July 2018 legalization date.
“I feel people are panicking,” said Murphy. “I'm about business and I wanted to be the first one to act on this idea.”
Murphy is currently in the process of purchasing a downtown building to house the shop. She said the process has gone very smooth.
Murphy's plan for the business includes a two-room space with one side focusing on the distribution of marijuana paraphernalia and “swag.” The other is a planned restaurant.
There will also be a doctor on site to provide medical marijuana licences.
Murphy said she is confident there are a lot of closet smokers in the NWT, but she's diligently doing market research anyway.
“It doesn't matter what business you get into,” said Murphy. “There will always be a risk.”
To make the dream of running a culture shop a reality, Murphy has partnered with Kim MacNearney of Beyond 420, a group that advocates for the responsible use of marijuana.
MacNearney who has been fundamental in bringing the discussion of marijuana education to the city ahead of legalization.
“It's coming fast,” she said.
Murphy has a lot of plans in place for Premium MJ, including allowing local artists paint the outside of the yet-to-be-purchased building and capitalizing on the tourism in the area.
“Our motto is it's all about the clients,” she said.
One of the growing concerns around the community with impending legalization is the accessibility of marijuana to youth.
“I think the key message is for students to be safe,” said YK1 Superintendent, Metro Huculak. “I've never experimented, but it's something the government put in place ... I just hope people make smart choices.”
Premium MJ intends to promote responsible use of marijuana and Murphy echos her stance is about giving back to the community.
“We're not going to push it on people,” said Murphy. “We want to teach students about the benefits and defects of marijuana.”
Murphy has scheduled an open house to discuss the future of Premium MJ at Harleys Hardrock Saloon