Cannabis retailer hopes to open by fall at Driftwood Mall

Courtenay’s first private cannabis retail store is expected to open in the fall at Driftwood Mall.

Muse Cannabis — the same owners as JAK’s Beer Wine Spirits — was the first application for a non-medical cannabis outlet to be approved by Courtenay council. The provincial government gives final approval for licensing.

“It’s a multi-step process with the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB),” Muse Cannabis CFO Mike McKee said. “We cleared a big hurdle last week when we were issued approval-in-principle. Until we had that, the City of Courtenay would not accept a building permit application. Now we have that, and we’re getting the final touches on our drawings.”

Muse Cannabis recently opened its first store in Vancouver. A second store is set to open in Campbell River in July.

READ: Muse Cannabis cleared by province to open in Campbell River

“We want to give the Vancouver store a couple weeks so we can live in it, and figure out what mistakes we’ve made in that design so we can refine the design with the City,” McKee said.

He expects to apply for a building permit in Courtenay in early-July, and start construction later in the month or early-August. McKee said the store could open around Oct. 1 at Driftwood Mall.

Construction has started at a government-run cannabis shop next to Ricky’s at the Washington Park Shopping Centre on Ryan Road. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch expects the store to open by late-summer.

Council has also approved an application from the Urban Smoke Shop, which plans to convert its Fifth Avenue shop into a non-medical cannabis retailer.

A public hearing about an application from Fire in the Sky, which wants to open shop on Cliffe Avenue next door to its Smoke on the Water Smoke Shop, will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 2 in council chambers.

A maximum of five private cannabis retailers are being allowed in Courtenay, and one government-operated store.

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