As news of the closures of two cannabis dispensaries rolled through Squamish on Nov. 5, so too did rumours about the only licensed store in town.
Linley Mussett, the general manager of Sky High Cannabis Ltd., spoke with The Chief to clear up misconceptions they've been hearing about edibles, packaging and prices.
While edibles are not sold in the form of food at Sky High, Musset said there are other edible products that can be used in the same way, to similar effect. Among their products are oils, sprays, and capsules. (They hope to be adding gummies and cookies before the end of December, based on producers.)
"I think they're so used to the convenience," Mussett said of edibles versus oils. "They're so easy, they're tasty. They're used to that small price — $10 to $12 seems really easy at the time. Paying $30 to $40 for a much longer period of time is going to benefit them in the long run, for sure."
She said that typically with edibles, it takes so long to feel the effects that people tend to eat more than they need.
"It's a lot easier to end up eating too much," she said.
Taking too much is likely why the government has been reluctant to greenlight edibles in licensed stores, Mussett said. The dose can be difficult to gauge, which is why Sky High is looking into offering DIY edible cooking classes. They currently sell edible-making kits in store.
"We really want to encourage people to start making their own, because there are people who are making edibles already who maybe don't know what they're doing," she said.
She thinks the next issue people will soon be talking about is the regulated dose in licensed edible products, which is anticipated to be set at 10mg per pack.
Another concern Mussett has heard is about the packaging their product now comes in. While Sky High has a petition in store that calls for producers to reduce the packaging, in the meantime the company asks that customers bring back packaging to be recycled. Sky High works with Tweed and TerraCycle, a cannabis packaging recycling program that recycles packaging from all licensed producers and is in contact with the government.
"If people are just recycling at home, the government's not really going to tell what's happening with it," Mussett said. "This way, they can see every week how much we're sending back. We actually really hope people will start doing a little bit more… probably half the people actually bring it back. Bring back the box, any bag, any tube — all of them."
As for pricing, Mussett said, like any store, Sky High sets its prices after buying from the BC Liquor Distribution Branch and, contrary to popular belief, many products have stayed at the same price.
"Some are more expensive, but everything that we offered before, we do have the same prices — some of the things are actually cheaper," she said. "The options are there, you just have to pick and choose what's best for you."
Sky High became the first (and so far, only) provincially licensed cannabis dispensary in Squamish in September. It is owned and operated by Mussett's family, who have lived in the Sea to Sky for decades (Pemberton, Whistler and, as of 2018, Squamish).
To be provincially approved, the company had to abide by the regulations (listed at cannabis.gov.bc.ca).
Mussett describes the process as very thorough.
"My mom used to work for ReMAX for 12 years," Mussett said. "She is a paperwork master."
Mussett said every detail had to be just right before the company could get its inspection. All told, the process took around 13 months.
"When we got our licence, we were number 63, and now they're at 160-something."
As of Nov. 18, 164 applications of the 539 submitted have been approved, according to provincial government stats.
Sky High will be hosting a Seniors' Cannabis 101 at the Squamish Manor on Dec. 6 and a general Cannabis 101 (19+) at the Squamish Public Library on Jan. 23. Find more information at www.skyhighcannabis.ca.
Her biggest piece of advice is to contact Health Canada or the prime minister with concerns and questions.
"If you are passionate about anything, speak up. Let them know — they're the ones who can affect the change and hear you," Mussett said. "We'd be happy to advocate on behalf of anyone."