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Whistler cannabis retail unlikely in 2021

Despite extenuating circumstances, cannabis retail remains 'high priority,' mayor says
Whistler’s mayor and council returned to in-person meetings at the Maury Young Arts Centre for the first time since March 2020 on Sept. 7.

Though Whistler’s mayor and council started 2021 with cannabis retail on its annual work plan, extenuating circumstances—including work on developing employee housing, the ongoing recovery from COVID-19, a late-April ransomware attack and a lengthy backlog of permit applications at municipal hall—mean the resort is unlikely to see any storefronts opening this year.

“At the moment we are very much focused on housing and COVID-19. My hope is that we will have cannabis retail in front of council for consideration before the end of this term [in October 2022],” said Mayor Jack Crompton. 

“It’s a high priority for me.”

Whistler’s mayor and council passed a zoning amendment bylaw in early 2018 prohibiting the retail sale of cannabis, allowing local officials to control where and when pot shops are introduced to the resort. If not for the aforementioned circumstances, would Whistler have allowed one to set up shop by now?

“I think so,” Crompton said.

“At the beginning we weren’t in a rush. We wanted to see cannabis retail in Canadian municipalities and learn from what worked and what didn’t. Certainly my expectation was that it would be done much sooner than we’ve been able to accomplish it.”

With many communities in Canada now having at least one cannabis shop, “there’s lots of lessons to learn,” he added.