PORT HARDY, B.C. – A Port Hardy couple are on Cloud 9 today after their dream of opening Vancouver Island’s first recreational cannabis retailer has officially become a reality.

It’s not a matter of if Stellar Jay Organics owners Tristan Radzik and Serena Neumerschitsky will open their store at the North Island Mall in Port Hardy, but when – and ‘when’ will be sometime before the end of this month.

Earlier, Stellar Jay Organics received blessing from both the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch and the municipality.

And after recently passing an inspection from provincial regulators, the business is ready to roll.

“We don’t have an official (opening) date set yet because honestly, of all things, (we need) a business bank account… nobody would talk to us until we had that license, and then getting our product in hand, so we’re looking to be open, absolutely, this month,” Neumerschitsky said.

“But it is official, we’ve got the (business) license. We can’t wait.”

The interior of the Stellar Jay Organics store in Port Hardy.
Photo courtesy Stellar Jay Organics

Neumerschitsky said getting the license from the point of inspection “has been a whirlwind.”

“I think they felt really good about our model; we’ve worked really hard to get to this point,” she said. “I think all parties felt like we worked, well, ‘collabed’ well, and made a strong, viable product.”

When it opens, the store will mimic the B.C. cannabis stores, offering products including flowers, oils, and capsules, to name a few, all on display in locked shelving.

Stellar Jay Organics’ opening could blaze a trail for similar brick-and-mortar, non-medical cannabis retail stores on the island, Neumerschitsky said.

“I think it’s a big part of our Vancouver Island culture,” she added. “I think it has been for a long time, and I’m excited for other entrepreneurs to have the same opportunity.”

Neumerschitsky said cannabis, be it medical or recreational, offers different experiences to its users.

“We are a non-medical cannabis retailer,” she said. “But of course, we are very aware of the benefits of the plant for a lot of people. It’s an amazing female flower.”