Legal cannabis available nearby, just not in Burnaby

While there aren’t any legal cannabis stores in Burnaby yet, a shop cropped up next door in Port Moody last week.

Kiaro Cannabis opened at 2816 St. Johns St. on Friday, according to Andrew Gordon, Kiaro’s senior vice president of strategic partnerships and community.

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“Kiaro is actually from the Italian word ‘chiaroscuro,’ which means to emerge from darkness into light, so a bit of a nod to the era of legalization and really to the transition that communities and consumers are going through,” he said of the name, adding they made it their own with a k.

The Liquor Distribution Branch has plans for two BC Cannabis Stores on Kingsway, in Metrotown and Edmonds city centres in Burnaby, but the city is not planning to allow any privatized stores at this point, Mayor Mike Hurley has said.

But Gordon hopes the city will reconsider over time.

“Burnaby is a great population to serve, and private retailers add a nice community-driven experience. A lot of the government stores follow a really regimented blueprint. We really want to provide greater access to regulated cannabis, it’s really vital to destigmatize the industry and destabilize the illicit market, which are key aims and aspirations of the Cannabis Act,” Gordon said. “Absolutely Burnaby would be on our radar in terms of potential centres to open in.”

He added it’s important that cities work within their comfort zone.

“It’s important that each community adopt this at a pace that’s manageable.” Gordon said. “As much as we are eager to expand to bring regulated cannabis to consumers in key markets, we’re just going to continue to work with stakeholders in Burnaby to build an understanding around cannabis and the advantage of private retail.”

He has also spoken with the Burnaby Board of Trade about the issues surrounding legalized cannabis, he said.

“We’re definitely eager to reach out and get a sightline on concerns and interests,” Gordon said. “They’re taking a cautious approach, they’re taking a measured approach, obviously we respect that, but we are eager to bring a more personalized community-driven experience to the table for consumers in Burnaby.”

The new shop in Port Moody is meant to also serve as a place for customers in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond and Surrey.

“It’s really beautiful,” Gordon said of the store, adding there’s great parking. “Really the stores are designed to be as inviting as possible.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the store has limited touch points, and the company has stepped up cleaning procedures and limits how many people can come in at a time.

The hours may also be different, so customers are advised to call ahead, Gordon said.

“During COVID-19, we are remaining open to provide access to recreational legal cannabis, but we are following the guidelines put in place by the public health authorities and the municipal bodies,” he said.

Kiaro in Port Moody is the fifth store in Canada for the company, which has its flagship store in Vancouver.

For more information on Kiaro, click here.

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