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Deja-vu all over again for Port Moody pot shop hopeful

Pub owner is back before council again tonight to pitch for his Happy Hippie cannabis shop that had been approved last June.
Rylie Ableman
Rylie Ableman stands in front of the storefront he hopes to transform into his Happy Hippie cannabis shop.

If at first you succeed, try again.

That might be the refrain going through the head of Port Moody pub proprietor Rylie Ableman as he prepares to reprise his bid for zoning bylaw amendments that will allow him to open a cannabis retail shop on Clarke Street.

Ableman will re-pitch his proposed Happy Hippie shop, at a public hearing tonight at 7 p.m. at the Inlet Theatre. If council likes what it hears, it will then consider third reading of the required amendments at a special meeting immediately afterward.

Ableman’s been there before.

Last June, the long-time owner of the St. James’s Well pub in Newport Village got the green light for Happy Hippie, at 2343 Clarke St., provided he successfully passed the “fit and proper” vetting of his financial and personal backgrounds by the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. 

That approval is still pending Ableman said; however, he told The Tri-City News last week, he’s been assured it’s “only a matter of when, not if.”

Still, in September, council rescinded its third reading and told Ableman he’d have to try again. 

It also said it would also reconsider a bid by Vancouver businessman Alex Mazinani to open a Cannoe shop at 3034 St. Johns St., which council had rejected in favour of Happy Hippie.

Last week, a majority of councillors gave Cannoe the go-ahead to become Port Moody’s third cannabis shop, joining nearby Kiaro in Moody Centre and Burb in Suter Brook Village.

If Ableman’s bid is successful, Happy Hippie will become the city’s fourth such shop — one shy of the five council said it would allow to operate in the city in the first wave of approvals since adopting bylaws in May, 2019, for their operation.