Toronto's Queen Street West was full of anticipation this Monday as eager customers lined up outside of Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. on opening day to buy their first supply of legal cannabis. Hunny Pot, Toronto’s only licensed cannabis retailer that opened on April 1st, received glowing reviews from customers who were impressed by its well-organized, knowledgeable staff and sleek vibe, which really felt like the future of weed-smoking; think something a little less tie-dye and a little more cardigan and blazer.
However, as several opening-day customers pointed out, it appears as though a "customer" at Hunny Pot Co. on April 1st was actually affiliated with the store somehow.
A public relations rep for Hunny Pot Co. has addressed the confusion in a statement to Narcity. "The purpose of the first transaction was not to mislead viewers, it was to participate in a ceremonial transaction. We are an external public relations team that helped open the Hunny Pot Cannabis Co over the past three weeks. As someone who helped open the store, this was meant to be a celebration of the store opening, not to mislead viewers."
A local Reddit thread first brought the issue to my attention, as one person pointed out a suspicious detail regarding one of the store’s first customers. Who, after some investigation, appears to be affiliated with the store. Below is a screenshot of the original post, which has been upvoted 1,300 times since it was posted on Tuesday.
In a video posted by CP24 on Monday, the alleged customer gives the store a glowing review. "The Hunny Pot, this is the most beautiful store I have ever seen, they have put so much work into it, this was the best experience,” says the woman, whose name was not revealed in the clip. Below is a still from the video in question, entitled "First Legal Pot Shop Open In Toronto".
Although the woman didn't go full-on mustache and glasses in the traditional sense of disguise, she does appear to be acting like a customer in the video. If she is, in fact, connected to the store in some way, this would certainly be misleading. It could even be considered a direct violation of Canada's ad standards.
A photograph was taken sometime later in the day that shows the woman interacting with customers, still hanging around the store hours later - you know, like we all do after we buy something.
How do I know it was hours later? Well, because I was there. I popped by Hunny Pot to see what all the hype was about a few hours after she had given her interview. I distinctly remember seeing the woman. I saw her talking to employees, I actually thought she might’ve been the owner based on the way she carried herself.
Another Redditor pointed out a follow-up fumble that again, appeared to suggest the woman was not merely a customer.
“Near the beginning of the clip, she’s clearly seen opening the door from the inside, only to let herself back in. Wasn’t that the first giveaway? It honestly seemed like they were just re-enacting the first customer experience until I realized this was the actual 'first customer'. What a bizarre charade" wrote the user.