Canada: P.E.I. cannabis shops will not have product on the shelves

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Canada’s smallest province will open only four cannabis stores once legalization takes place later this year, but interested consumers should expect not to see any product on the store shelves. 

Instead, consumers will have to make their purchase decision by speaking with a store clerk about a strain that aligns with their preference or by using a tablet to browse and learn more about in-stock items.  

“Customers won’t be able to actually touch the physical product. They’ll come in and they’ll have the option to go through a bit of a consultative retail experience with one of our highly trained cannabis store clerks,” said Zach Currie of the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission (LCC).

When customers first enter a P.E.I. cannabis store, they’ll walk into the lobby, which Currie refers to as a “persona trap”. A receptionist will check ID to make sure that no one under the age of 19 gets through to the retail area.

The retail section will have signs with the menu, prices and product availability. The cannabis will be kept in display cases near a point-of-sale terminal where the customer can complete their purchase and obtain the product.

“That’s where folks would be able to have the information they need to make a final decision and get the product they want,” said Currie.

Consumers will also have the opportunity to make their decision through use of a “multi-sensory sniff jar”.

“Through that, our supplier partners will be able to put a piece of dry [cannabis] within that little mechanism. Folks will be able to see via a magnification lens or smell it via a pivoting apparatus on the sniff jar.”

The province is still working on security measures and on deciding how many people will be allowed in the shops at a time. “We feel it’s our duty to uphold our regulatory obligations and align ourselves with the promotional restrictions that the federal Cannabis Act has established.”

“But we also feel it’s necessary to facilitate a really progressive, modern customer experience much like you see in any retail environment.” There will be about 50 staff total working among the four retail locations in P.E.I.

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