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Fourth cannabis shop could be planted in Prince George

It would be the second non-government owned cannabis store in the city
Could a fourth cannabis store be on the way for Prince George? (via Jessica Fedigan)

You could soon be seeing another cannabis store in downtown Prince George. 

There's now going to be two retail (non-government) cannabis stores on the council agenda for April 8. 

Grasshopper Retail Inc. has one location with a proposal to open a store at 421 George St. downtown and now another location could be opening. 

The second would be located at 1289 3rd Ave. and owned by Nasser Kamani of Kamani Holdings Ltd. 

Kamani is a pharmacist in Prince George, which is one of the reasons he decided to look into opening a retail location downtown.

"As a pharmacist here in our city, I get numerous questions on a daily basis regarding the use of cannabis and where people can purchase cannabis," he tells PrinceGeorgeMatters. 

He says it was about this time last year when he was looking for a potential space for the store and was first considering leasing a spot while having realtors approach him with possible vacant properties that may be of interest, but Kamani wanted to have something he could call his. 

"I wanted to open a business that I could call my own and have full control over everything within the business, including the property its self," he says. 

That's when Kamani says he took the risk of purchasing 1289 3rd Ave. at the end of August 2018.

He has plans to renovate the property while also adding enhanced security to the property itself and the surrounding area. 

Kamani chose the location because of the space being in a retail area and close proximity to local end restaurants which the community go out and enjoy.

The building itself is just under 3,000 square feet and contains more than 1,500 square feet of retail space he says. 

"This provides it with a bright, open and welcoming appearance," he adds. "Within the large retail space, in addition to the sale of product, I plan to integrate an educational area where customers and members of the community can enhance their knowledge and learn about cannabis through iPads, books, and magazines. I will also incorporate an area for customers to see and smell different products and strains prior to purchasing."

Kamani says he's already provided the city with a thorough presentation regarding his plans for the store and ensuring he's following all municipal as well as provincial regulations and also demonstrating following the rules of the Liquor Distribution Board from the Cannabis Retail Store License Terms and Conditions. 

He adds he has spoken to his potential neighbours in the area and the reaction has been positive, with other businesses seeing it as a plus for the city and area. 

"I have also talked to my neighbours and the majority of them are welcoming the business as they feel it will increase foot traffic, safety, and security of the street, thus not only benefiting their businesses but benefiting our city as well," Kamani says. 

As for any concerns the public or city may have when it comes to his proposed cannabis store, he wants residents alike to know he will maintain safety and security. 

"I would like the public to know that this is our city and I will do my best to run a socially responsible, safe and secure business while trying to give back wherever possible."

Just as Grasshopper Retail Inc, the zoning of property, Kamani says the city and himself have decided to also do a temporary use permit rather than rezoning completely, to be able to see the benefits of the store downtown while also educating the public of being responsible when it comes to cannabis use, and believes being a pharmacist has helped him have a greater understanding. 

"My main intention when deciding to pursue this venture was not just the sale of cannabis, but to educate the public on the responsible use of cannabis and its effects as I am approached on a daily basis regarding this topic," Kamani adds. "I truly believe that my business will have a positive impact on our city. I am open to any suggestions from the public, or if they just wanted to talk, I am usually at the store finishing up renovations (unless I am at work)."

The public hearing is set for 7 p.m. in city council chambers on April 8.