Proposed Prince George airport cannabis store to go to public hearing

If approved, Copilot's store would be a global first

This artist's rending shows what the proposed Copilot airport cannabis store would look like | Image: Copilot handout

A proposed cannabis retail store at the Prince George Airport will proceed to a public hearing, after a vote by city council on Monday night.

On Jan. 7, the Prince George Airport Authority and Copilot announced their intentions to open the first retail cannabis store in an airport terminal in Prince George. On Monday night, city council approved the first two readings of a bylaw to amend the airport’s zoning to allow cannabis sales.

“Both the cannabis licence and the rezoning will be subject to a public hearing,” city director of planning and development Deanna Wasnik told city council.

The proposed cannabis retail store would be located in the non-secure area of the terminal, and would be open to non-travelling members of the public, Wasnik said.

Members of the public will be able to submit written comments and make verbal comments to council during the public hearing, before council makes a final decision on the proposed rezoning.

Prior to a public hearing, members of city council are supposed to remain open minded and not pre-determine their position, council members were reminded by city staff, following a question by Coun. Brian Skakun.

“That’s good to know, because members of the public might expect to hear council’s position on this tonight,” Skakun said.

Coun. Garth Frizzell said the proposal is a “unique circumstance” which has drawn attention nationally.

Copilot has been working with federal and provincial regulators, and the city rezoning and licence approval is the next phase of the process. 

“We are really excited to partner with the YXS team and introduce Copilot to the Prince George community,” said Copilot co-founder Reed Horton told the Citizen on Jan. 7.

Horton and co-founder Owen Ritz have been working to open an airport cannabis store in Canada since 2020.

“We felt Prince George was the best place to start because of the size of the airport and the community culture,” Horton said. “We felt the airport was large enough to have enough passenger traffic and enough flights to test out the different aspects of the business model but small enough where we would develop a community feel and it wouldn’t necessarily feel like our retail store was in a sea of other stores or that it was an overwhelming experience for other passengers given that is a very new concept. If all goes as plans we are opening the first cannabis retail store in an airport right here in Prince George this summer.”

-    With files from Hanna Petersen

Prince George Citizen