Cannabis store gets local approval

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, March 4 2020

The Gabriola Local Island Trust Committee has given it’s approval to the opening of a Cannabis Retail store in the lower level of the Gabriola Professional Centre.

This does not mean the store - Gabriola Cannabis Limited - will get to open any time soon, as the final decision on that rests with the provincial government - by way of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB).

However, an approval from the LTC was one of the requirements by the LCRB. Had the Trust Committee said it was not an appropriate location, the LCRB would have turned down the proposed location.

At the Trust Committee’s meeting this Wednesday, Feb. 27, an information meeting was held for members of the public to hear about the application, and to voice their opinions on it.

Of the five people to speak to the application, only one person spoke against retail sales of cannabis generally, no one spoke against the specific store opening where proposed.

Simon Reeves identified himself as the husband of one of the applicants (Lynn Reeves), saying he has been in the construction business on Gabriola for 20 years.

“I think it’s time we accept this so we can bring the market out of the dark ages and collect taxes. I have my own business and have paid taxes for the past 20 years on that.

“There’s a marijuana industry on Gabriola. The community may as well benefit from it from taxation.”

Shawn Goodall, co-owner of Gabriola Cannabis Limited, said for those who are concerned about youth or children being able to access cannabis, the store will only be open to those over 19 years of age - and all products in the store will have safety seals on them.

“The only way [minors] would get access to product would be from a negligent adult who visited our store.

“Having lawful access by means of our store means you’re bound to get less homegrown access. Whatever boundaries might be at home - the things we have at home are safety sealed.”

Others who spoke in favour of the application pointed out that only in the higher grades do students from the Elementary School get to leave school property during school hours - and again pointed out the store is only open to persons over 19 years of age.

When it came time for the Trust Committee to make a decision, Dan Rogers, Chair of the Gabriola LTC, said it appeared the island was in favour of the application.

“If people were upset, they’d be here.”

Trustee Kees Langereis said having such a public location will allow the public to see whether minors are going into the business.

Chair Rogers, stressed again that the LTC is not able to give the final, “thumbs up” for the store to be opened.

“Our job is to decide if the community thinks it is ok to have this facility - there’s a whole other process - fit and fashion - that is done by the solicitor general and province.”