The Week (US)

The tedium of endless weed stores

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Emma Teitel

From the looks of my Toronto neighborho­od, the pandemic has killed off nearly every business except for weed dispensari­es, said Emma Teitel. While the economy as a whole languished during the year of lockdowns, the marijuana industry took off in Canada. In Ontario alone, 50 weed outlets are opening every month. As I walk down my block, I pass the following: “pot shop, empty shop, pot shop, empty shop, pot shop, empty pots (literally: a plant store went out of business).” It’s a jarring effect. The marijuana dispensari­es are chic and modern; one even has “friendly Millennial­s standing outside all day handing out dog treats.”

The other storefront­s are shabby and sad, boarded up and covered in graffiti. The only common denominato­r in the open and shuttered businesses

“is that it’s difficult to see inside them.” When Canada legalized recreation­al marijuana in 2018, the law stipulated that dispensari­es must hide away their wares so as not to tempt abstainers. To keep in compliance, most of the shops are fronted in frosted or mirrored glass, or covered in posters, which leaves the street looking pretty bleak. “My 15-year-old self would kill me” for saying this, but I can only hope that the oversatura­tion of the market will cause some of these stores to fail.

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