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Pot business to open downtown at end of month

Sara Handley, 29, (formerly Murphy) is owner and operations manager of Premium MJ. She is preparing for the anticipated demand of cannabis products with the business.

Over the summer, she was able to purchase a new building in the downtown area, the location of which she is yet to make public. The operation will provide 20 employees who will all be required to be knowledgeable about different marijuana strains, products and growing equipment. The location will have a bar, tattoos, piercings and other features yet to be finalized.

While she is anxious about the opening of the business, the lack of details by the GNWT are not among her worries.

“I know how the government works and is a slow process with anything involving the government,” she said.

“It pretty much just a waiting game right now, but we are going to do what we can until then.”

On Oct. 1, she is rolling out the first part of what she is calling a three-phase business plan, which involves selling marijuana-related paraphernalia like bongs and grinders. The second phase will involve selling the cannabis after the required six month period. The third phase will involve applying for a federal Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) for growing the product.

According to the GNWT legislation, after six months from the legalization date and the beginning of sales, private retail outlets like Handley's will be able to apply with the GNWT to sell cannabis. Until then, cannabis consumers will have to purchase their product at liquor stores.

She expects the completion of all phases to take two years with “a lot of financial benefit regardless of whether we sell the marijuana or not.”

“It is a lot of anxiety and it has been a lot of research and it is very time consuming,” Handley said of her three-year preparation. “But I think it will pay off.”

She guaranteed the location will be more easily accessible, including for people in wheelchairs, and within walking distance of downtown.

Sara Murphy, 28, is preparing for the anticipated demand of cannabis products. NNSL file photo
Sara Murphy, 28,  is preparing for the anticipated demand of cannabis products. NNSL file photo