The Town of Peace River looked poised to be home to the first cannabis retail store in northern Alberta. Bud Runners Cannabis was approved for a license by Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis last week, and expects to get stock within the next few days.

Bud Runners is run by brothers-in-law Cody Gerk and Nick McGahey. McGahey says he isn’t surprised it will the first legal marijuana business operating in the region.

“Because we were on it so early we figured we’d be the first ones but there’s a bit of competition up this way. We’re happy that we’re the first ones to be open and are looking forward to hopefully next week when we do open up.”

Other than having product in place, the store at 9610 100 Street is ready to open its doors. The plan is to do so next Monday or Tuesday, and it’s expected there will be a big response.

“People are asking everyday when we’re open. Being downtown Peace River, there’s people pulling on the door all day long,” says Gerk. “Downtown Peace River is a very busy place with lots of businesses, lots of traffic, multiple restaurants, so there’s definitely a high traffic area.”

Bud Runners has also been approved for a location in Grimshaw, and has an application in for a second Peace River location in the West Hill area. That one will be accessible from Highway 2, so the owners expect to also catch people coming through town.

In Peace River, marijuana consumption is allowed anywhere people can smoke tobacco, but has to be done a distance from the hospital, schools, and childcare facilities, as well as playgrounds, sports fields and bike parks. The Town chose not to create its own cannabis bylaws, but says it will be collecting information over the first six months of legalization to see what steps would need to be taken.