October of 2019 marks a year since legalization of cannabis in Canada, and Parksville finally has a store to show for it.
Maura and Simon Reeve opened Oceanside C-Weed, Parksville’s first legal cannabis retail store, on Sept. 28. It’s been a couple of years in the making, time that has consisted mostly of waiting for their application to get approved before they could move forward opening the shop.
A handful of applications are also still underway in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
The Reeves put their request forward to city council in May, which once approved was forwarded to the province.
BC Cannabis, Buddha Farm and Kaya Connection also had applications approved by council at that time, but none have gone forward opening stores.
The Reeves, who moved to Parksville five years ago, said the shop has been busy in its first week. So far, it’s just the two of them running Oceanside C-Weed, which is open seven days a week.
In Qualicum Beach, Clayton and Dallin Brenton at QualiCanna have been enjoying business since their opening in early August. The process of getting their permit approved took more than two years. Applications weren’t accepted until September of last year, but the father-son duo spent a year talking with the town council and administration prior to that.
“In September, when they started taking applications for actual permits, we submitted out application and it was great because the town was supporting us, and we rent from the town here,” Clayton said. “They’re just wonderful to deal with, they’ve been very supportive.”
They started renting the old fire hall in Qualicum Beach — stuck and not able to open for nine months. It’s all par for the course, though, Clayton said.
“I wouldn’t call it a roadblock,” Clayton said. “It was just a big process to go through”
“And you didn’t know what the outcome would be,” added Dallin. “You just kind of submit everything and pay money and cross your fingers and hope that you’re approvable.”
They often wouldn’t hear for large gaps of time, which made them nervous about their pending application and the storefront they were already renting. But, Clayton said, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Board were easy to work with.
“Some of the rules and regulations, the way it has been put together is pretty challenging, especially for small businesses like ours,” Clayton said. “But at the same time it’s all new and you know, we’re trail blazers, we were the first people from Victoria to Campbell River in this area.”
Now, a year into legal pot, more cannabis stores are on the horizon, including a government-operated one set to go in at Wembley Mall. No opening date has been confirmed.
Even with a large provincially run store set to open in the nearby future, the Reeves said they’re not concerned about it affecting their business — in their eyes, there’s enough demand to go around.