Skip to content

New cannabis store proposed for Port Coquitlam, but none yet for downtown

Four years after Port Coquitlam's first cannabis retail outlets were approved one more goes to the next stage of approval
Four cannabis stores have opened in Port Coquitlam — one more may be coming.

Time may have aided Port Coquitlam in weeding through its huge list of cannabis retail proponents.

Only one applicant — connected to a popular long-time liquor store and pub — is still in the running for a new location after a four-year review that originally saw 18 businesses apply for cannabis shops in the city of nearly 60,000 people.

On Tuesday, April 11, council recommended that a cannabis shop for 1760 Kingsway Ave., called Boss Cannabis, next to Cat and Fiddle Liquor Store, be considered for a zoning amendment.

No shops downtown

If approved, it will be the fifth pot shop in the city.

Among the reasons Boss Cannabis was approved to go the next stage was its location and the proponent's charitable commitment to Port Coquitlam.

"The operator, potential operator, sets an incredibly high standard for support of our community," said Mayor Brad West, speaking of the Cat and Fiddle pub, a long-time establishment in the city.

"They probably have no equal in Port Coquitlam in terms of supporting a multitude of community endeavours," said West.

Another proposal for 2342 Elgin Ave., (Samz Liquor Store) was declined to go to the next stage.

However, Couns. Dean Washington, Nancy McCurrach and Darrell Penner suggested that location could be considered in the future, as the population of the downtown densifies.

 "Moving forward we could look at that location. I don’t think today is the right time," said Penner.

With four cannabis stores operating without problems in the community, and no complaints, staff reached out to 11 applicants who had been put on hold pending further review.

However, only Cat and Fiddle's Boss Cannabis and Samz Pub expressed interest. The remaining nine had to be cancelled, three because they withdrew when contacted and six that couldn't be reached. Three previous applicants withdrew as well during the review process.

Healing properties

Meanwhile, much of the stigma attached to cannabis stores has been eliminated over the years.

"It was the unknown," said Penner while Coun. Paige Petriw said she prefers to talk about the "health benefits" of cannabis products, especially CBD oils.

McCurrach said she first used marijuana when she severely broke her leg during a ski accident. "I found it medicinally very healing," she said.

Still, there have been some challenges for cannabis stores along the way.

Coun. Steve Darling said the business is over-regulated, especially by the federal government, which is making it difficult for independent stores to operate.

Mayor West said municipalities haven't received any money from $250 million in revenue generated by cannabis stores.

"It's been incredibly disappointing," he said.

He said he preferred the 1760 Kingsway Ave. proposal because it has a similar concept to other successful PoCo stores, where people can drive up, pick up their product and leave.

According to the staff report, the proposal for a 979 sq. ft. store at 1760 Kingsway Ave. had support from the community, and was well away from sensitive public uses. If approved, it would hire 25 staff and provide community benefit through charities, events and community groups it supports.

However, West noted that the decision to allow Boss Cannabis to proceed doesn't preclude council from approving cannabis shops in the future.

"Council absolutely reserves the right to consider further outlets in downtown or other areas of the city as time progress and we will continue to monitor," he said.