EDITORIAL: Pot business still business

Our view on entrepreneur's plans to open a business in Port Alberni.

A businessman has stepped forward and said he wants to open what amounts to a marijuana production and packaging centre in the former Stephen’s Sheet Metal building on Bute Street and Fourth Avenue in Port Alberni.

At first glance, and because of the stigma surrounding pot, the answer to his request might be an indignant “no way!”

Now, step back a moment and take a look at the business case.

The City of Port Alberni didn’t change the law allowing for commercial marijuana cultivation for medical purposes, the federal government did.

The transitional phase began in June; after April 1, 2014, Health Canada will be out of the medical pot business and so will any individual growers. People accessing medical marijuana will have to do so from a federally regulated commercial provider.

There is a licencing and security process for interested producers. They have to pass a security check, local law enforcement and fire authorities must be made aware of their business and the building has to adhere to strict codes to be accepted.

Dion Hopkins could be regarded as an entrepreneur jumping in at the beginning of this transition.

This proposal isn’t an illicit, hydro-stealing house-destroying grow op; legal producers won’t be selling pot to anyone who walks through the front door.

Moreover, the Stephen’s Sheet Metal building has been standing empty since the machine shop closed in January 2009, so there is the economic benefit of having a new business open up in that space.

Business doesn’t always have to be comfortable in order to be successful.

— Alberni Valley News