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Tofino’s first cannabis dispensary opens

“I don’t know where it’s going, but happy how it’s gone so far.”
Business partners Kyle Meagher and Mike Holekamp share a laugh inside Tofino’s first dispensary, Daylight Cannabis. Holekamp said opening the business gave them a “heightened awareness of wanting to be entrepreneurs.” (Nora O’Malley photo)

‘Father and Son’ by Cat Stevens plays in the background as Daylight Cannabis owners Kyle Meagher and Mike Holekamp confess the realities of opening the first legal dispensary in Canada’s Surf Capital, Tofino, B.C.

“I don’t know where it’s going, but happy how it’s gone so far,” says Holekamp, a commercial fisherman and new dad.

Whitewash cedar walls and a California Beach House interior design aesthetic greets a rush of midday customers, and business appears to be steady for this small business that quietly started selling Canadian grown bud to Tofitians on Dec.13, 2019.

Meagher, who also manages Kuma Tofino, tells the Westerly it took years of dedication to get to this stage where customers can have a tea and chill out while they peruse 30 different strains of dried flower, 10 of which are grown in B.C.

“It’s been a long process, but throwing open the doors and knowing our community has been waiting for us and supporting us every step of the way has been really rewarding,” she says.

On Aug. 12, Tofino’s municipal council officially granted Daylight a temporary use permit (TUP) to operate for the next three years. Finding the best location was the most important thing, notes Holekamp.

“Daylight is away from schools and daycares in an adultcentric zone with lots of other new businesses and entrepreneurs,” he says of his pot shop located on Industrial Way. “There is an inspiring business culture here already and we wanted to keep that tradition by creating something new, but something that exemplifies Tofino.”

READ: Tofino approves two pot shop permits

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Daylight currently employs seven part-time staff and is open seven days a week.

“We are accessible and welcoming, and happy to broaden the conversation around legal cannabis,” says Meagher, adding that having a different alternative to alcohol is positive.

Meagher and Holekamp collect a 25-cent ‘Green Fee’ from every transaction. The kitty from the ‘Green Fee’ will be rotated to local nonprofits like the CARE Network, who they earmarked for the first donation.

Feedback from customers, say the young business partners, is encouraged.

“Nobody is happy with the packaging, but this is the first go at it. It will get better,” says Holekamp, adding that the packaging does take care of harm reduction and tracking.

They went on to express that the recreational cannabis industry is by no means where it wants to be. As it stands, the provincial government requires all cannabis retail stores to be enclosed by floor-to-ceiling walls that are not transparent.

“It would be nice to take the fog off the windows and be able to advertise like a normal business,” notes Meagher. Although, she adds she would simply be “happy to be here in five years with the doors open”, considering their TUP is only for three.

‘It’s not time to make a change,’ Cat Stevens sings and meanwhile “they are peeling potatoes at Castaways”, one daylighted customer remarks. ‘Just relax, take it easy’ the song continues.

“Weed…” says Holekamp, “Weed was here long before we were.”

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