Legal Cannabis Retail Workers Tell All About What’s Working and What Isn’t – LPC
The Financial Post (please see link below) reports that it’s been “a bumpy few months” for legal cannabis retail owners in Canada. Although as one person they spoke to pointed out, the challenges are likely to be expected for a new cannabis industry. However, they do offer some insights into what is working – and what isn’t.
Krystian Wetulani, a former grey market operator, is the owner of City Cannabis Co. said that the quality from large licensed producers (LPs) isn’t quite there yet. “Bringing in new types of products that were grown in large facilities, they haven’t caught up yet,” she said. “We know which LPs are providing quality stuff and which aren’t. We’re going to throw it back onto the licensed producers soon and make sure they are stepping up their game.”
Price is also an issue, Wetulani said. The online provincial store sells for 30 per cent cheaper than legal cannabis retail stores can due to government markups. “That’s something we are working with the province on and hopefully we can make things more competitive for us.”
Price an Issue for Other Legal Cannabis Retail Owners, Too – LPC
Mike Babins is the owner of Evergreen Cannabis Store in Vancouver, echoed that feeling. “The issue with the province I would say is that they add a mark-up before they send it to me,” he said. “That plus I have to pay the shipping, so by the time I get it, I’m almost getting it for what they are selling it for on their retail site. So for the layman who doesn’t know, for most people, they think we are gouging them on the prices. But it is not that. It is unfair that the provinces are our main competition but they pay less than we do for the same stock.”
Trevor Fencott is the CEO of a chain of 18 cannabis and cannabis accessory shops in Alberta and Saskatchewan called Fire & Flower. He referred to the so-called cannabis shortage in Canada. “Some people talk about it as if it’s a supply issue,” he said. “I think it’s also due to the newness of the industry. To me that’s a growing pain and that’s something that makes sense and is working itself out.”
He added that the Saskatchewan legal cannabis retail market is generally working well. “In Saskatchewan, we deal directly with LPs,” Fencott said. “I think that system has been really effective for us, because it’s business solving its own problems. If we don’t have product on our shelves in Saskatchewan, it is only on us.”
However, he suggested letting the legal cannabis retail owners have more control in the market. “They are coming from a sincere desire for public safety. This is a new substance. I think it has to be done right. Having said that, having approached the six-month mark, they do not need to remain.”
Problems with the Legal Cannabis Retail Market in Ontario – LPC
Trina Fraser, a partner with Brazeau Seller Law, is one of Canada’s foremost cannabis lawyers. She said that the Ontario’s cannabis retail store licence lottery was not as smooth as it could have been. She suggested the province would have done better if they had evaluated the ability of licence winners to operate a store. “It would have made a lot more sense to open the operator licence applications for a period of time,” she said. Then, the lottery could have been done among approved operators only. “That would have avoided a lot of the awkwardness we’re experiencing now.”
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