Proposed cannabis store in British Columbia airport fails to take flight

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Rendering of exterior of CoPilot cannabis store

A rendering of the Copilot cannabis store planned for the Prince George Airport in British Columbia. (Image courtesy of Copilot)

A high-profile plan to open a first-in-the-world recreational cannabis store inside an airport terminal in Prince George, British Columbia, has been scrapped, apparently a victim of shifting economic conditions.

The planned Cloudbreak Cannabis location – previously known as Copilot Cannabis – promoted itself as being on course to become the first cannabis retail store in an airport terminal, garnering media attention.

But in December, the Prince George Airport Authority (PGAA) announced that the store “would not be signing a lease or beginning construction, citing changing market conditions.”

Cloudbreak co-founder Reed Horton declined an interview request from MJBizDaily to discuss the store’s cancellation.

PGAA President and CEO Gordon Duke told MJBizDaily that the store was in development for about three years and was due to open in the first quarter of this year before the change of plans.

“A lot has changed in the economy,” Duke said.

“And certainly, we’ve seen with interest rates and inflation, just in the past six months, it has really changed the economic environment.”

Duke added that the store took longer to develop than a new airport retail store would typically take, citing regulatory hurdles related to opening cannabis stores and the added complexity of opening one in an airport.

“We were hopeful and enthused that this might come to fruition, however, we understand the risk associated with any startup business.”

Some Canadian airlines were opposed to the airport cannabis store, arguing against it to Prince George’s city council.

“That would be a takeaway that we had, is to communicate earlier (with the airlines),” Duke said.

Canada’s busiest airport, Toronto Pearson, reportedly hired a lobbyist in 2022 to explore the possibility of cannabis retail, although the airport’s governing authority told CBC News that it had no plans for such a store.

Meanwhile, a marijuana retail store did open in Toronto’s historic downtown rail transportation hub, Union Station, in September 2022.

And a cafe selling CBD-infused products does business at the Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

Solomon Israel can be reached at solomon.israel@mjbizdaily.com.