The rains have been battering BC these past weeks, causing widespread flooding in southern parts of the province. Unfortunately, the worst is not over yet. For the third time in two weeks, an atmospheric river is pouring on the province. It began early this morning and is forecasted to last late into tomorrow. Environment Canada has issued rainfall warnings but can only estimate the amount to come you know; meanwhile, Princeton, Abbotsford, and Merritt, BC are still dealing with the aftermath of the first two storms. The weather report is bad news and for the Cannabis businesses within these cities, the coming storm is like doom approaching. As we brace for more rain, here is an update on the current state of repairs in Princeton, Abbotsford, and Merritt, BC, and, a spotlight on a cannabis business within each place.

Atmospheric River – The worst kind of pineapple express

The province is used to lots of rain but this is not your typical rainstorm. For the past 2 weeks, we have been experiencing a weather phenomenon known as an atmospheric river. 

It happens when warm, moist air travels across the ocean and mixes with a polar jet stream. They are often referred to as a ‘Pineapple Express’ because these tropical storms develop so fast. According to meteorologists, this approaching pineapple express is going to be a big one.

Abbotsford

Abbotsford was hit very hard by the recent rainstorm and sustained a large amount of damage to critical infrastructure. The Sumas Prairie was evacuated because of serious flooding. The situation is just getting under control. After two weeks of scrambling to repair broken infrastructure, the city started making some ground. They were able to open the Barrowtown Pump Station flood gates and drain the Sumas Prairie. According to Mayor Henry Braun, Abbotsford is “holding its own” and expects to be able to handle the arrival of today’s storm.

PHOTO BY JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS – Monday, Nov. 29/21

Jima Cannabis – Open for business

Jima Cannabis is a licensed retail store, located in a plaza in Abbotsford. When the first storm hit in mid-November, Jima Cannabis shut down due to flooding. Although it didn’t quite reach their doors, floodwaters were rising and pooling in the parking lot. According to staff, all they could do was watch security cameras and hope that the store would not flood. Jima Cannabis remained closed for a total of four days but has since reopened to resume operations. 

Princeton 

The flooding in Princeton has caused such destruction, the Canadian military was sent in to help. There is a current evacuation alert for downtown Princeton and re-entry is only possible with a contractor’s approval.“Anybody who is in the evacuated area is going to need certified gas and electrical contractors that can authorize the hookup of those systems,” said Spencer Coyne, Princeton’s mayor. The mayor has put out a call for more certified technicians to come in from out-of-town and help with the effort.

Atheneum Cannabis Princeton

Atheneum Cannabis has two licensed retail stores; one is in Princeton and the other, Vancouver. The location in Vancouver is business as usual but Princeton is a different matter. Atheneum Cannabis Princeton is situated on a low-lying strip of land, surrounded by water. It is literally a five-minute walk or one minute drive from the Similkameen River. Whether they have been flooded and to what extent can’t be confirmed at the moment; however, given the low elevation of their store location, it’s extremely likely. You cannot currently reach them by phone and there aren’t any updates on their website. As soon as we know what’s going on, we will be sure to post an update.

Merritt 

The flooding in Merritt was sudden and serious. It overwhelmed the local wastewater system and contaminated the drinking water. More than seven thousand people were forced to evacuate and not everyone is allowed to come back. The city has been split up into separate zones and re-entry is dependent on the location address. 

  • Those situated in the phase two-zone are not under any evacuation alerts and can return to their homes. 
  • For those in phases three and four, it’s a lot more complicated – On Saturday, November 27, the City of Merritt began permitting phase three residents to return to their locations, but only between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm. 
  • The residents in the phase four-zone are not able to re-enter at all. 

Anyone located within phase three or four is under an evacuation order and depending on the weather, the rules can change at a moment’s notice. 

Quilchena Cannabis 

Quilchena Cannabis is a small cannabis business with a massive stock and selection. Located in the phase three zone, Quilchena Cannabis has been closed for the last two weeks and no one was allowed in the area. On Saturday, November 27, the City of Merritt began allowing daytime re-entry to the phase three zone but the situation is very precarious. The evacuation order remains in effect and these rules can change as fast as the weather. 

The situation has been stressful, to say the least! But if anything, the cannabis community is very resilient. On Saturday, the owners went back for the first time and immediately started preparing to re-open. 

Quilchena Cannabis Product Supply

When it comes to providing and maintaining supply, the owners are not concerned. Because they offer a wide selection, they tend to keep the inventory stocked up high. For many cannabis businesses, highway damage caused by flooding has resulted in product shortages and delays. For this mom and pop pot shop, this is thankfully not an issue.

Quilchena Cannabis is planning to re-open the store today… unless this storm has other plans. Despite the adversity, this little Merritt weed store is working hard to keep the people puffing and is even offering delivery. If you are able to pop by and show your support, they will be open from 9 am to 3 pm and are located at 937 Quilchena Ave in Unit B.

The situation surrounding these storms is constantly changing and tonight could be rough. On behalf of everyone here at the Cannabis Life Network, best wishes, luck, and health to your and your family. Stay safe out there.

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