Vancouver Island business owners hoping to sell cannabis legally


WATCH: B.C.’s minister of public safety is warning cannabis dispensaries should shut down by Wednesday if they want to have a shot at being a legal retailer in the future. On Monday, the province said it will ensure no one is allowed to sell cannabis illegally. That will include confiscating black market drugs and issuing fines. Kendall Hanson took a look at how two separate business owners in Nanaimo have applied to the province with hopes of becoming legal retailers.

The staff at The Globe Nanaimo are about to lose their jobs.

All 30 employees at the illegal cannabis dispensary will be laid off tomorrow. The store’s owner, Richard Scott, wants a licence to sell pot legally.

Scott is working through the provincial and municipal licensing requirements, including a requirement that applicants not have criminal connections.

“Background check and security clearance checks that are done by my ministry to ensure that there are no links to organized crime,” said Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s solicitor general.

“And that we know exactly who all the principals are and where the money is coming from.”

Scott has been in the cannabis sales business since 2014. His shop was among four shops police raided in December 2015. All their product was seized but they reopened the next day. Now he wants to run a legal business.

“I’ve always wanted to just be a legitimate establishment even if it means that I’m going to make a minimal amount of profit,” said Scott.

“I figure that just conforming and getting our foot in the door is the first step and then continuously lobbying for better regulations after the fact.”

Nanaimo entrepreneur Andrew Pederson is also applying to the province for a retail license.

During the past 18 months, he’s invested $120,000 getting a space ready for cannabis sales in anticipation of legalization. He has a lot riding on getting a license to sell.

“A little nervous but we’ve come this far,” said Pederson. “I’m confident that down the road it will pay off because this location in Nanaimo is going to be great.”

Pederson hopes his approach of not selling illegal cannabis will help his application.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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