The first Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) store in the West Island opened Monday morning without much fanfare, though I was highly impressed by the sleek, boutique-style layout.
I had anticipated a potential lineup at the suburban Sources Blvd. locale, as was seen when the SQDC’s downtown location opened in 2018. However, there were few customers during the first two hours of operations at the outlet in a Pointe-Claire strip mall, situated between Highways 20 and 40.
Many have compared the SQDC to the SAQ, the provincial corporation that sells hard liquor, wine and imported beer. But from my perspective, the SQDC’s look is akin to a high-end jewelry store, where the products are neatly placed behind counters, or on shelves that are accessible only to store staff. There are no aisles for customers to browse up and down.
There are electronic screens noting a product’s price, intensity level and THC percentage. There are also a couple of information screens, which customers can use to look up categories or products that meet their needs.
It should be noted the SQDC isn’t similar to a cigar lounge — people can’t consume their cannabis product on site.
There are no places to sit. It’s a cannabis takeout service, though they do offer online purchases and delivery. Products come in various blends, as well as dry, pre-rolled joints, extract or beverage forms.
Unlike an SAQ, parents can’t browse in an SQDC with their children.
Parents concerned about their teens experimenting with cannabis should note that security guards demand ID with proof of age before anyone can enter the SQDC’s shop area. The legal age is 21 in Quebec, so if your teen is using pot, they probably didn’t buy it at the SQDC.
Considering it sells goods deemed legal by the government, it seems to me that the SQDC outlet will blend in well with the other storefronts at the mall, including the adjacent Asian noodle restaurant that shares the section that once housed the now-defunct Bourbon Street bar.
The Pointe-Claire SQDC at 1866-A Sources Blvd. has about 15 employees, which includes several part-time staff. The store’s operating hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.