What happened to the AMS’s plans to open a cannabis dispensary?

The AMS began seriously discussing opening a cannabis dispensary at the Nest mid-last year — but what’s happened since? Not much.

In August 2020, AMS executives discussed partnering with Canopy Growth to open a dispensary at the Nest for students and staff to purchase safe cannabis. While no concrete steps have been taken yet, AMS President Cole Evans said “exploratory work” on a potential cannabis store in the Nest has continued “in a limited capacity.”

“Given the fact that UBC has yet to establish policies on cannabis retail on UBC lands, as well as multiple applications from external retailers to establish operations on UEL lands, the AMS is in no hurry to pursue its own operation until the fit is right for the UBC student community,” said Evans.

In recent months, there have been two additional applications for cannabis stores at UBC in the University Village. In May 2021, Burb Cannabis Corporation applied to the University Endowment Lands (UEL) to allow for the conditional use of a non-medical cannabis retail store at 5784 University Boulevard. Atheneum Cannabis applied to open another cannabis store nearby shortly after.

Evans said the AMS does not currently view either application as competition since the AMS’s main aim is to ensure UBC students have safe access to cannabis, as well as proper education around substance use.

“[The AMS] is supportive of any development that accomplishes these goals whether they be internal or external,” said Evans. “Education is also a key component of any substance use, and it is our hope that any potential retail operation would strongly incorporate principles of substance education and personal wellbeing into their plans.”

Regardless of whether the potential dispensary is operated by the AMS or external organizations, some students are concerned about the impact easy access to cannabis on campus can have on the environment of an educational institute.

When asked what the AMS plans to do to monitor and ensure minimal change to the current working environment at UBC, Evans told The Ubyssey that the AMS does not believe that responsible cannabis use now or in the future would have a negative impact on the UBC campus working environment.

“Students will always have access to cannabis, and having a product on campus that’s safe and accessible will ultimately create a safer environment for both students and the extended campus community.”