PROFILE PHOTO COURTESY OF KIMBERLEY KUFAAS PHOTOGRAPHY Tyson’s Thoughts is a weekly column posted every Thursday at northislandgazette.com and in print the following Wednesday. Have some thoughts about my thoughts? email editor@northislandgazette.com.

Tyson’s Thoughts: What’s keeping Stellar Jay Organics from opening in Port Hardy?

“We could open, rich corporation will sue us the small town establishment if we do”

It’s halfway through March now and Stellar Jay Organics still hasn’t opened.

Why is that you might be wondering?

Well, after months and months of dealing with bureaucratic BS from the government while getting their business approved, Stellar Jay ended up having a major problem getting a business bank account opened.

Apparently most of the five big banks told them they did not yet have policies in place for cannabis-based businesses.

Talk about bizarre, especially if you consider that cannabis is legal here and has been since Oct. 17.

To me, that seems like plenty of time for the banks to have put in some kind of policy for recreational cannabis shops, but hey, I work in the journalism industry and not the banking world, so take my opinion on bank policies with a grain of salt.

Maybe the banks are simply scared to try new things?

Or maybe they just dont want to deal with that kind of business because it could affect their brand?

Who knows. I’m sure they would give me a very ‘corporate’ response if I asked, but that’s neither here nor there and I don’t really feel like spending the time fully investigating the matter when I already know what kind of answer I’m going to receive.

Anyways, let’s get back on track.

Stellar Jay Organics eventually did open up a business bank account thanks to a company in Ontario coming through for them.

With that out of the way, you’d think they would be ‘ready to roll’ and open up shop.

Well, not so fast. According to the company’s Facebook page, another business is trying to strong arm them into changing their name.

“We could open, rich corporation will sue us the small town establishment if we do, so we must change our name before we open,” states the post on Stellar Jay’s Facebook page.

Stellar Jay Organics added the company had their “name registered under both a partnership and a corporation” and they went through a “rigorous vetting process during the application stage,” and the issue still stands that they could very well be sued if they open their doors with the same name, so they haven’t done it yet.

According to a comment from Stellar Jay on their Facebook page, it could take months for them to open now.

Months!

Talk about a long wait in line to finally buy a product that last I checked is currently legal in this country, though I’m sure the wait is just as bad for owners Serena Neumerschitsky and Tristan Radzik, who have been through so many trials and tribulations during their adventure into opening a recreational cannabis shop.

You might be wondering where else you can buy cannabis if not at a local shop? Well, cannabis is definitely available online from the government’s official website.

That is all well and good, but I know for a fact that the people of Port Hardy, and the surrounding communities as well, are all waiting patiently for a way to purchase cannabis at a locally owned store.

Not just for the convenience factor of walking into said brick and mortar store and talking to a real live human, but also to help support the local business community and the North Island Mall, which is currently right in the midst of being revitalized with tons of new shops to peruse.

Here’s to hoping that Stellar Jay Organics is able to get this nonsense dealt with and open up shop ASAP.

With that said, I never understood all the fuss about legalization in the first place.

Cannabis isn’t something that adults should be wary of partaking in. Obviously, like any substance that’s mind altering, you need to be careful and not operate a vehicle while intoxicated, but other than that, it’s not something that is dangerous for your body that could potentially cause death, like alcohol.

As for keeping it out of the hands of the youth, I personally think legalization was a much needed step in shutting down the black market, thus making it tougher for kids to purchase.

Also, legalization could potentially add as much as five billion dollars a year in tax revenues to the federal and provincial governments. Prime Minister Trudeau even went on record saying the revenue from legal marijuana sales will be used to address public health and addictions issues.

Are those good enough reasons for you? They’re good enough reasons for me.

Tyson Whitney is an award-winning journalist who was born and raised in Port Hardy. His family has lived in Port Hardy for more than 40 years. He graduated with a degree in writing from Vancouver Island University in 2008. Email: editor@northislandgazette.com.

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