Canada legalised marijuana last month. On the way home from the optician on legalisation day, I decided to call into the Sunshine Wellness pot shop I’ve been visiting for the past few years to stock up on CBD oil. Pure CBD oil has no THC (the ingredient that makes you high) and is very useful for inflammation, pain, insomnia and dismay.

I was astonished to discover a big sign in the window thanking me (not personally) for the last four years. The shop was now shut and seeking to be regulated. Worse still, the counter displayed a number of posters advertising the conservative candidate running for mayor of Vancouver (he didn’t win).

Dismayed, I took to my phone and hoofed it four blocks west to a larger operation called Weeds. At Weeds, there was a short queue, someone filling out an application form, and several sales assistants wearing rather chic black rubber gloves.

A helpful rubber-gloved assistant explained they did not stock the CBD oil I am used to buying (for a modest $35 a bottle) but could offer me a better quality one that cost $150. The bottle was exactly the same size and while I am certain it is indeed superior, I don’t need anything superior.

On legalisation day, I assumed that, like the liquor stores operated by the provincial government, there would be oodles of government-operated pot shops all over the city. Mais non, the sales assistant told me. ‘So where is the government pot shop exactly?’ I asked him. ‘In Kamloops,’ he said. Kamloops, population 85,672, is three hours and forty minutes drive from Vancouver.

I phoned the government pot shop help line. Apparently Kamloops was the only municipality to have its zoning requirements and regulations ready before legalisation. Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver, has voted not to have any pot shops, private or government, despite a large recruitment advert I saw recently for jobs at the Marijuana Distribution Centre in Richmond.

The woman at the call centre explained I could use the online government pot shop. The next problem, aside from a threatened postal strike, was that the online government pot shop – which had received more than 10,000 orders in the first 24 hours – had sold out of the simple CBD oil I wanted. Seven days later, it was still out of stock.

And if I tried to procure my CBD oil by other means, such as the way I have been procuring it for the last few years, I would be doing so illegally. The plentiful pot shops operated in a legal grey area, I was informed.

I contacted the City of Vancouver (publicly) on Twitter:

Can you tell us when the first BC Govt pot shop will open in our city? Why wasn't all this organized before legalisation? Thank you.

The response sent (privately) to my direct messages on 31 October:

As of right now, no cannabis retail outlets have completed the process to obtain a provincial and municipal licence to operate in Vancouver. We do not have a timeline on when the first store will open as it will depend on the applicant completing the process and fulfilling all provincial and municipal requirements.

I have since enjoyed reading this entry in the FAQ on the online government pot shop:

Does BC Cannabis Stores have a loyalty program?
No, at this time there is not a loyalty program for regular customer (sic)