PORT HARDY, B.C. – It’s been just over a month since Vancouver Island’s first non-medical cannabis retailer opened its doors in Port Hardy.

And so far, it’s been a smooth ride for North Island Cannabis.

Serena Neumerschitsky, who owns the company along with her husband, Tristan Radzik, provided an update.

“People are really open to it,” Neumerschitsky said. “On average, we’re spending 20 minutes to north of an hour talking to people because they’ve got a lot of questions. It’s a brand-new world for a lot of people.”

Neumerschitsky isn’t surprised by the positive reception the store has received since it held its soft opening on April 1.

“Cannabis is a beautiful flower that I absolutely celebrate,” she said. “I’m not surprised other people are celebrating it, as well.”

Leading up to the store’s historic opening (and April 20 grand opening) Neumerschitsky said she and Radzik took steps towards getting their message out to the community.

“We really went out of our way to check with the community, to talk to the community about where they wanted us, what they wanted us to sell, who we could be to make sure that this was a positive experience for everyone,” she said.

“Because at the end of the day, it’s coming, so let’s make sure it comes in a way that works for everyone. The community’s been very supportive because we really made sure we heard the community.”

Over the past month, Neumerschitsky said she and Radzik have developed a rhythm in the way that they run the business.

That’s why the soft launch was done with little fanfare, to allow the couple to get some of the bugs out.

According to Neumerschitsky, this will ensure that if they sell out of product, “we would sell out to the community first and all in all make sure we were doing it right. We didn’t want our first day to be chaos.”

“For us, it’s the first time we’ve ever had a store, let alone a cannabis shop.”

Asked about who was coming to the store, Neumerschitsky answered, “who isn’t coming to the store?”

“We’ve all secretly been smoking cannabis,” she added. “Some of us have been more open. You’ve definitely got people who are not interested in the flower but I have no problem saying from 19 to 80, people are coming in here for all kinds of reasons, and it’s exciting to be able to educate people about this plant.”

The store at 5-9250 Trustee Rd. is open Wednesday to Sunday. Its website is www.northislandcannabis.ca.