The long wait — for one store, at least — could be drawing to a close. Squamish may soon get its first provincially-licensed cannabis dispensary.
On Aug. 7, the owners of Sky High Cannabis declared that they have received an approval in principle from the provincial government. They're the only store in town to make this announcement so far.
"It's a huge step," said Tristan Mussett, co-owner of the store. "It's been a long process."
"We are overjoyed," said Aimee Todd-Mussett, the store's other co-owner.
The family of Sky High Cannabis LTD started this journey in the cannabis community not knowing where it was going to take us. No idea how welcoming and embracing an entire community could be towards us. Being a part of Squamish has been life changing. We have enjoyed sharing our wonderful journey with all of you, our Sky High Squad. We’ve added the most incredible people to our team; to our family. They’ve helped us build an incredible culture and vibe to our store that brings in magnificently diverse people; making Sky High one of a kind. To our customers, our community, our municipality and our incredibly team; we couldn’t be more grateful, thankful and elated to have you with us on the next part of this epic journey. ***drum roll please** We are elated to announce to all of you that Sky High Cannabis LTD has received its ‘Approval in Principle’ for our provincial licensing! Truly we thank you for helping us make this possible and for being the absolute best community! Let’s celebrate together! See you at the shop. #provinciallicensing #cannabisshop #squamishcannabis #skyhighcannabisltd #skyhighcannabis #skyhighsquad #thankful #grateful #movingforward #amazingnews #elated #blessed #celebrate #loveyouall
While it doesn't signify full approval, it's a sign that their store has made major headway in the application process. If all goes according to plan, the retailer may be fully approved within months.
"It means we've completed every step except for our final inspection," said Aimee Todd-Mussett. "And then we would be given a licence number and be able to purchase product from the government."
Sky High has one year to pass the inspection, though they've booked it in the coming weeks. Ideally, they're aiming to be fully approved by sometime in September, the owners say.
Mussett and Todd-Mussett set up shop in town about a year and a half ago, and since then, they, along with their adult children, Linley and Matt, have been serving locals' needs for THC.
The pair said that local government and the community have been very supportive since they opened their doors.
Since legalization, all cannabis retailers in B.C. are required to get licensed by the province's Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.
Following approval, the retailers will have to get their products from the province.
"It will change our suppliers, and the packaging will be different," said Todd-Mussett.
Those who don't receive approval will be in danger of being shut down.
Other store owners who spoke to The Chief said that they have yet to hear any word from the province.
Bryan Raiser, who owns 99 North Cannabis Dispensary, said he was glad that at least one store in Squamish has made progress in the application process.
However, Raiser expressed disappointment at the lack of movement for his store. By his account, 99 North was the first in line to apply for a provincial licence. His store was also the first cannabis dispensary to set up shop in town.
"We've come a long way," said Raiser. "Squamish [will have] its first legal retail."
Raiser said that it's been just about a year since sending in his provincial application.
"[I] have been in a process since then that has certainly taken an emotional, physical and financial toll," he said.
Don Fauchon, co-owner of Grass Roots Medicinal Cannabis, said he has also yet to hear from the province about his store's application status.
Fauchon added that he doesn't know how much longer the process will take.
Mountain Herb Collective did not respond to a request for comment before press deadline.