A business application has been received by Prince George Airport in British Columbia in Canada for a cannabis shop. This is what is known in North America as a dispensary and in Amsterdam as a coffee shop. Before the Covid pandemic, the airport served around 500,000 people a year. It is a seven-hour drive from Vancouver and 20 minutes from Prince George city centre. A meeting of the city council discussed the matter, with its first and second readings passing. The next step is a public hearing.

Prince George Airport. Photo: Alasdair McLellan

Prince George Airport. Photo: Alasdair McLellan

The company Copilot hopes to make air travel less stressful for those who suffer from anxiety related to it. Gordon Duke, the airport’s CEO, remarked that Copilot met regulatory requirements and “had a strong business plan.” The shop would not be “airside,” so it would be accessible to people who aren’t travelling. All being well, the shop would open in the summer of 2022.

Why Prince George Airport was chosen

Reed Horton founded Copilot in 2020 along with his college classmate Owen Ritz. He stated that Prince George Airport was large enough to have sufficient passenger traffic but small enough to have “a community feel”: there will be “a close-knit relationship with our customers and the community,” and the shop will not seem to be one of a “sea of other stores.”

Other than designated smoking areas, the airport is smoke-free. Duke indicated that a cannabis-smoking area was a future possibility. Needless to say, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police opposes the idea because almost all flights will be to countries where cannabis remains illegal.

The world’s first airport-based cannabis shop

With only Canada, Uruguay and Malta having legalised recreational cannabis, this would be the world’s first airport-based cannabis shop. Previously, Prince George Airport’s only claim to fame was having Canada’s fourth-longest runway. Copilot intends that customers will include residents of the surrounding area and airport staff ending their shifts. The shop will employ something from four to eight people, serving 100 customers a day.

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