Credit: Colliers

To mark the recent legalization of recreational marijuana, we check in with some of the key players in the B.C. cannabis world. From pot growers to government officials to medical professionals, meet the people helping move the industry forward and keep British Columbians safe. Todays subjects are Bianca Gilbert and Alan Johnson of Colliers International

As one of Canada’s top commercial real estate services firms, Colliers took a risk by entering the cannabis industry. But the company upheld its standards while taking on clients looking for space to set up their growing and extraction operations.

“If they’ve got a business plan that’s ready to go, that’s usually a key indicator that they’ve actually planned for success and not just, hey, I heard weed is becoming legal and I’m going to try and become a millionaire here,” says Colliers associate Bianca Gilbert.

Asked if cannabis companies are different from other clients, VP Alan Johnson admits there are still plenty of unknowns. “It’s an education process on both sides,” he says, on his way to visit BlueVault Organic Marijuana’s farm in Pemberton. In July, BlueVault enlisted Colliers to sell the property, becoming B.C.’s first cannabis operation to be publicly marketed through a commercial real estate outfit.

“Certain municipalities have tried to stop cannabis use, even thwarting cannabis users who already have a permit in place, and trying to prevent that from going through,” Johnson says, “or putting in different zoning bylaws to make it a little less attractive, things like that.” In any case, the pair feel well prepared for what’s to come. “We’ve established at Colliers that we are the only firm that has an actual cannabis platform,” Gilbert says.

Check out the November issue of BCBusiness for more profiles of B.C.s pot players