An old collectibles shop might be home to a cannabis retail store in Keremeos.
Quantum 1, a division of Vancouver based Quizam Media Corporation, has submitted an application for a provincial cannabis dispensary license for a location in Keremeos and in six other communities in B.C.
Quizam is mainly a media company that produces everything from films to training videos, online content and more.
Russ Rossi of Quizam Media Corporation recently spoke with the Review and said a lease was signed for the former Berg’s Ox Yoke Collectibles store on Highway 3, near the liquor store.
“My family is originally from Grand Forks. The family owns a lot of property in the Castlegar and Grand Forks area. I live in Vancouver and drive through Keremeos once a month, so I know the area quite well. On top of that I’m a pilot as well so I’m familiar with how to fly there and land there. It was an easy choice for us,” he said.
The other communities Quantum 1 has taken out leases and applied for a dispensary license include North Vancouver, Grand Forks, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Creston and Terrace.
Rossi said each community was chosen because of family connections.
In addition, Quantum 1 has applications to run marijuana dispensary stores in Alberta and is in the Ontario lottery system.
“Our goal is to open 200 stores. One hundred in Canada and we’re looking at the U.S. and Europe, Jamaica and other countries,” he said.
Rossi understands the jump from media company to the retail marijuana business might not make sense from an outsider perspective but it fits inline with expertise within the company.
“We’re a public company. One of the things with the markets right now is cannabis, new cannabis growth market. A lot of people on our team have experience in dollar stores and we think we’ve come up with a profitable retail model,” he said.
Rossi said the family has a background in retail from dollar stores to hardware stores and has come up with a “cookie cutter” retail store that should give the customer a “top-notch” experience.
“We want to give value and consistency to the customer,” he said.
He noted marijuana retail was something he was personally interested in as friends have struggled with pain management and alternatives to opiates are needed.
“There’s a lot of people that don’t know about cannabis. All they know is the Cheech and Chong video Up in Smoke. There’s a whole medicinal side of cannabis. There’s lots of benefits,” he said. “We want to be a part of making it a reliable choice for people.”
He said each store would employ between 12 to 22 employees depending on its size.
The Keremeos location is particularly of interest because it sits on the highway and is easy to pull off for those travelling through.
Currently, meetings are underway to secure producers to supply the stores if they are successful in becoming licensed.
He noted he was frustrated with the process of the B.C. application process. Applications are 1,200 pages long, properties had to be leased ahead, and there is still no word on whether the applications might be successful or not. The cost to apply was in excess of $52,000 for the seven stores in addition to leasing their locations.
“I’m quite frustrated. We’ve been putting these applications in since November. When you do these applications you either have to buy the location or secure it through a lease,” he said. “It’s staggering as a government the NDP is way behind, thankfully we have the cash flow to do this properly, but we want them to give us a yes or no,” he said.
He called the bureaucratic process “staggering,” and noted if approved talks would then have to start with the village to determine their stipulations.
“Every single day applications aren’t approved they are just promoting organized crime, promoting the black market and evading the taxes that should be paid,” he said.