On Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and the Gulf Islands there are close to 100 applications from people who want to open a retail cannabis dispensary waiting for a provincial license.

None have been approved but some have been forwarded to local governments for further consideration.

With the exception of the Sunshine Coast, most retail shops chose to shut their doors in the hopes of increasing their chances of getting a license, but one Island chain is bucking that trend.

Kyle Cheyne, the founder of Leaf Compassion with 8 locations on Vancouver Island said he chosen to keep five of his stores open.

“I don’t feel for a second that I would close for this. I do want to follow the rules and I am following the rules to a certain degree but the whole closing down too is also advice. When it came out in the news and they said any existing dispensaries that are operating now, we highly suggest they close before the 17th or right after, it was just a suggestion.”

Cheyne said he chose to stay open, where it made sense, for those who use cannabis for medical reasons.

“The whole reason why we are staying open is because the whole medical side. I’ve had 17 interviews last week about this. It’s crazy. So, we just legalized cannabis in Canada and medical cannabis has been legal in Canada for many, many years, over ten years. We still don’t have one medical cannabis dispensary provincially or federally licensed in Canada.”