British Columbia’s Prince George Airport may soon host the first in-airport marijuana store in the world. Owen Ritz, the cofounder of Copilot, which is the retail brand that’s spearheading this project, revealed that its airport terminal store would be open by the beginning of summer after store construction was completed and further approvals required from the government were received.
In a recent interview, Ritz explained that cannabis was a product that some individuals used to relieve stress and, given that travelling was a stressful experience, the store’s presence would benefit customers who were looking to buy cannabis products and potentially consume them before they travelled. He added that other potential customers included curious travelers who ordinarily wouldn’t visit a marijuana store or travelers who wanted to pick up some products before they headed to their final destination.
The Prince George Airport Authority had announced the planned marijuana retailer earlier in the year.
In the interview, Ritz also revealed that he and Reed Horton, the cofounder of Copilot, first pitched the retail concept to the airport a couple of years ago, which earned them the authority’s support and approval. However, this was before the coronavirus pandemic when the regional single-terminal airport served about half a million travelers.
The cannabis retail store will be located in a central point, between the security checkpoint and the check-in hall. The store will not sell its products to airline staff or airport staff on shift. It will also not sell its products to travelers with final destinations or international transits.
Additionally, air travelers will be allowed to legally bring marijuana on domestic Canadian flights. While the airport remains a nonsmoking zone at the moment, plans are underway to create a designated marijuana consumption area for the responsible consumption of marijuana products. This will be similar to what has been done in the Calgary, Kelowna and Vancouver airports.
Copilot’s goal is to create a travel-focused brand that focuses on travel and cannabis. In the future, the company hopes to produce and sell products that specifically cater to the needs of travelers rather than ordinary commodity marijuana products. The company is primarily focused on Canada, as the United States still federally prohibits marijuana, despite most states legalizing the herb for recreational and/or medical use.
With regard to duty-free sales of cannabis, Ritz notes that the possibility of duty-free airport marijuana sales in the future is an opportunity more than it is a risk.
Canada looks set to blaze the trail for the cannabis industry in many ways, and internationally oriented companies such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) may have a lot more avenues to exploit in their bid to expand their footprint across national borders.
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