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Prince George could be flying high with the world’s first pot shop at an airport

Jan 11, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Store to be in a non-secure area of the terminal with public access.

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Prince George’s airport could achieve a world first if plans to host a cannabis retail store at the facility get off the ground.


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During a press conference last Friday, the Prince George Airport Authority (PGAA) announced that Copilot, which is pioneering cannabis for travel, has applied for a business licence to operate there.

The company needs the city to green light any business licence before plans can proceed, of course, but if granted, PGAA reports the store could potentially open its doors later this year, with a Copilot tweet mentioning the summer.

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Claiming that would make for “the first cannabis retail store in an airport terminal worldwide,” PGAA adds, “Copilot has been working with federal and provincial regulators throughout the licence application process and has met every required step to operate at YXS so far.”


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The business licence okay, the first and second readings of which were discussed this week, represents among the final steps before Copilot can build and open the store.

If that approval is received, the PGAA is more than ready to welcome the world first. “We are very pleased to welcome Copilot if they receive a business licence and provincial approval,” PGAA CEO Gordon Duke says in the statement.

According to a report this week by CKPG Today, members of city council passed the first two readings of the application unanimously.

The application must undergo a third and final reading, as well as will be the subject of a public hearing to deal with rezoning, per My Prince George Now.

Although there appears to be plenty of support for the application, it is not complete. Citing a staff report, the publication notes police authorities have argued moving forward could result in negative impacts on Canadian Air Transport Security Authority staff during security screening to ensure property packing, weights for domestic flights, and potential issues for connecting international flights at land borders where cannabis is not legal.


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Per CTV News, cannabis cannot be taken across federal borders. Canadians of legal age travelling inside the country can bring up to 30 grams of weed in their carry-ons.

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure still needs to provide its input, but the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) has apparently determined the applicant is fit and proper for the purposes of the act, according to My Prince George Now.

Information from the provincial government notes, “As part of the active phase of the licensing process, applications undergo a rigorous ‘fit and proper’ assessment to determine whether the applicant is fit and proper to hold a non-medical cannabis retail store licence.”

The assessment includes security screenings and financial integrity checks, which can prove timely, but are a requirement of receiving a licence.


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LCRB assessment assessments are not started until after a business has paid its application fee.

Duke notes in the statement that the company approached the PGAA in 2020 with a request to apply to lease space at the airport, whose code is YXS. “They had a solid business plan that met our expectations for new business partners, and we welcome the opportunity to work with Copilot to expand the services available to our passengers,” he says.

“We see YXS as the perfect location to launch our initial store and fulfill our mission of making travel a less stressful and more enjoyable experience for our customers,” Copilot co-founders Reed Horton and Owen Ritz say in the release.

“YXS is large enough to introduce our innovative retail concept, but small enough to build a close-knit relationship with our customers and the community.” /
“YXS is large enough to introduce our innovative retail concept, but small enough to build a close-knit relationship with our customers and the community.” / Photo by Talaj / iStock / Getty Images Plus

“YXS is large enough to introduce our innovative retail concept, but small enough to build a close-knit relationship with our customers and the community,” Horton and Ritz note. The idea is for the store location to be before security screening, so in a non-secure area that is open to people others than airport travellers.


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A tweet from ShopCopilot, posted in September of 2020, notes the company’s approach: “Making travel a more relaxing and enjoyable experience.”

Per Benzinga, Horton said, “We saw an opportunity to bring a safe and simple cannabis retain experience to airports across Canada.”

With regard to the airport’s size, he further explained: “We felt the airport was large enough to have enough passenger traffic and enough flights to test out the different aspects of the business model, but small enough where we would develop a community feel and it wouldn’t necessarily feel like our retail store was in a sea of other stores.”

The hope is that the store, with a staff of four to eight people, will serve 100 customers daily, according to My Prince George Now.

If and when the store opens its doors, however, lighting up on site will be restricted, according to Rocky Mountain Outlook Today.

Quoting Duke, the publication reports that, beyond the existing designated smoking areas, the company is “looking at designating a separate cannabis area for combustible consumption.”

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