Fort St. John cannabis retailers not getting a fair chance

Re: 'Fort St. John considers fifth cannabis store approval as licence delays mount,' Alaska Highway News, July 18, 2019

We are aware that there was a job fair for the B.C. Cannabis Store location to open in Fort Saint John.

This really disappoints us over at Glory, as we feel we have not been given a fair chance to enter this industry. It is a huge investment with many moving parts to it and we have constantly been faced with more and more red tape.

The provincial government indeed has a burdensome amount of applications to process, and for that we cannot be upset. However, it is quite likely and apparent that they will ensure the success of their corporate stores before that of a private retailer here in FSJ.

We are currently undergoing an extensive fit and proper analysis that spans further than just the immediate associates of our company. The LCRB reserves their right to request further information should the manager not be satisfied or if he/she requests further information regarding the financial integrity of associates of an applicant. This was the case in our situation and has resulted in background checks on the families of our leadership body and investors.

We at Glory agree that there should be the highest level of safety and security involved in this heavily regulated industry. There should be a great deal of due diligence put forth in the investigation of candidates, and we have been extremely cooperative with the LCRB as they have done so in our case.

On another level, we as a company are dismayed at the ongoing expense that we have continued to incur throughout this process. Nearly a year after the federal legalization of cannabis, each province has exceeded the number of legal retail outlets currently open in British Columbia. Provinces such as Alberta and Ontario have opened their applications up and allotted for additional stores after a successful first wave over the past 9 months, with Alberta pledging 10 additional retail licenses and Ontario an additional 25 licenses.

We believe that there is much to be said about the process in B.C., and the provincial government should really focus on tried systems already in place in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Newfoundland. There are too many small and medium-sized business that have been stalled for reasons that have no affect on the operation of this type of business, and the onus for safety and security of the industry placed on their backs instead of that of the municipalities that are to receive a share of revenues generated by responsible retailers across the country.

Regardless of the process, we will continue to stay strong and appreciate the widespread support for local cannabis retailers in Fort Saint John, and we, as members of the community we intend to serve, hope the words of our people do not go unheard.

— Sheldon A. James, co-founder and chief financial officer, Glory Cannabis Company

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