Islington cannabis street closure will close one shop temporarily

You may have seen some warning signs on local roads over the last couple of months.

Surprise road closures will stop drivers from parking on one of the street’s busiest roads.

Inside a handful of shops, dozens of signs are posted that have been left to show by new retailers they’re on the way.

Islington has some of the most stringent rules when it comes to where to can and can’t open up pot shops.

Although sales of cannabis in the UK are set to start next month, the City of London, where dozens of shops are supposed to open, has not yet given its permission.

Customers and business owners in that area now have to wait until the licences are actually issued – and they don’t seem too concerned.

Neil – an entrepreneur from Islington who opened a cannabis shop called Kush Elements earlier this year – says he’s confident everyone will do OK.

“Things will pass. This is a business. We aren’t putting our lives on the line; we aren’t making our homes a risk,” he said.

“We have great relationships in the community; we support the community. I’ve got some great friends who own a pub who are happy for me to be in their bar on a Friday night.”

The uncertainty surrounding the street closure has some employees in the cannabis industry wondering if there will be jobs lost.

But Hemptoberfest – which is due to open in Islington this summer – already has a number of people on board.

“The biggest thing for us is that we have a place to go where nobody can say we’re there with a stick,” said Maggie Walters, who is helping to run the event.

“It’s letting people feel like they can come into one of the most welcome businesses in the biggest city in the country and feel they are welcome and this is the start of something a bit cleaner and safer and inspiring.”

Things in the city seem to be getting off to a good start – the first half of the week saw thousands of people come out to watch Eton Dorney’s annual, annual regatta.

It was surrounded by themed restaurants, bars and tourist attractions, as well as record breaking in the #sportsexperts competition.

For the City of London, while it’s not quite the same as other events in London – getting one up on the host village is a big deal.

Chief executive Paul Green says they plan to arrive in Islington by June next year and go after a licence for three shops that have already been licensed.

“We want to demonstrate that it’s really business as usual in the City of London and as a new and huge part of the economy.

“We are genuinely excited to be part of Islington, we are in a very mature market with 2 million people living there and we really want to capture the essence of cannabis like people have.”

For Neil, there are also issues he’ll be talking to councillors about – which have nothing to do with cannabis.

“It’s really difficult for us, putting all the branding and the stories and the products in a way that’s going to make our customers feel comfortable, welcoming,” he said.

“I would like to talk to councillors about the safety of the road. We have trouble with nitrous oxide sales, as I understand it because you can’t breathe because of the carbon dioxide in it. So I would like to talk to them about safety, even as a minimum.”

The more shops, he feels, the more competition there will be for the centre of Islington.

“If we’ve got 40, 50, 60 shops, is the city getting more sophisticated? Or is it just another push for people to go to their local supermarket and buy the same variety,” he added.

“You know, I go into the City of London and I walk into Sainsbury’s. I order the same amount of pork pastrami as I’m buying from a shop across the road.”


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