Vancouver’s new cannabis market will experience a cultural uplift in the near future. A provincial retail license has been granted to a fifth licensee, putting an old store on the horizon for a guaranteed return.
Many stories regarding quality and compassion have brought consumers, connoisseurs, and patients to The Healing Center, now more formally known as THC Canada. Those are each a reflection of how THC got to us.
Grinding Goals into Brick and Mortar: An Interview with Spensir, CEO of THC Canada.
Cannabis Life Network: Where did THC Canada all begin?
Spensir: I was always a consumer and cannabis enthusiast first. Working a regular 6 a. m. – 3 p.m. job, I came to dispensaries after work to sample products. I built a checklist of what I wanted to see from a cannabis store. I researched other shops within the area [in 2012], and nothing I saw checked off all the boxes on my list. In a renowned city like Vancouver, I thought there should be more beautifully modern and clean shops stocked with high quality, hand sampled products.
Can you describe your struggle to get to THC 1.0?
The first problem was finding a landlord as a 23-year-old. Six years ago, only five or ten other stores existed in Vancouver. I was low on finances and couldn’t even obtain my municipal license until after I had a store. I am not exaggerating when I say it took over one hundred personal interviews. Then a miracle, I finally found a landlord. Nine months of renting an empty building not knowing if I was going to receive a license, while we built the store, was also difficult. We have always done things properly, for the long term, no matter the cost.
Vancouver revised zoning parameters for dispensaries, adding a new proximity law. THC 1.0 suddenly became only a few meters too close to Sunset Community Center.
What actions were taken when these laws came into force?
In April, 2016 Eden and THC were the only stores that voluntarily closed to follow the new regulations. We had to move just a few doors down, into a building that had been destroyed by fire. I had no guarantees and invested heavily, spending a whole year rebuilding the store before we could get our new license. Closing THC 1.0 was so hard for us, but following the rules allowed us to create the ideal store we always wanted. When THC 2.0 finally opened, all the boxes were checked off my list.
Legalization Looms: Hope Remains Beyond an Empty Vending Machine
A month prior to legalization, your shop chose to eliminate discounts and the vending machine was emptied. How else did THC prepare once legalization came into force?
We closed willingly, no one forced us to. We had a municipal license which we paid $30, 000 a year for, but we still shut down on October 17, 2018. We have always made sacrifices for the long term. We would not have our provincial license today if we did not follow the same steps we took. I thought it was right to do things by the book for the longevity of THC.
How has rebuilding for your new provincial license been going?
While I am talking to you now, I am actually writing an email going over the final design process. I am about to fully rebuild THC one more time, we are gutting the store.
Even though people told me, “You’re crazy, you already have the nicest store!”, you have to evolve with the times. With the new rules, we do not need our front waiting room. The whole application process was medicinal. Now, as long as your nineteen you can walk in. So we tore out the entire front wall and are creating an open-concept.
A Few Presentations Evolved Under New Guidelines
We will be providing the best options we have to offer. They will not give you the same terpene content compared to smelling a full jar, unfortunately. You can still see and smell the flower, it just won’t quite be the same.
Your old supply chain was built over years of intensive sampling and networking. How has searching through a completely new product selection from the Provincial Roster been?
I started working on that about a week after we closed, at the end of October. I have been in meetings with all the LPs over the last eight months, trying all their products. So when we open up, we know who the real players are. I take pride in it, and everyone leaned on me to vouch for the best product. It was known once a producer got onto THC’s shelves, they made it.
Social Media posts by reputable ‘grey producers’ have been known to exist that can validate that last statement.
When will the doors to THC Canada finally be open?
By Mid-August – we want to take time and try to open the best store in Canada.
Thank you for sharing your story. Is there anything you would like to add?
A minor setback for a major comeback, we look forward to seeing you soon.
End of interview.
Now the family that once had connections to Canada’s rarest cannabis will be returning to Main Steet at 49th Ave, Vancouver, BC – provincially licensed. Soon to bring you the finest quality one can source from Canada’s new legal supply. Anyone able to shop for their cannabis in South Vancouver will have another access to eliminate the tiresome work of researching.
Dank buds will no longer hide in a sea of shadows and haze. You can rest assured knowing THC Canada is putting in work for the sake of compassion – for you, your satisfaction and the sake of quality itself.
Photos courtesy of THC Canada