July 13, 2024 12:28 AM

Private retailers start to compete against well established medical cannabis dispensaries

Canadian provinces have started launching its own recreational cannabis market, and most are competing with established medical cannabis chains.

/ Published 6 years ago

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Retailers of Cannabis have been exploring a variety of ways to sell their product in Canada. Some market analysts are looking into certain brands as a benchmark on how to get into the recreational cannabis market.

Last month in Vancouver, for example, it was announced that private company Evergreen Cannabis Society received a provincial license to open shop. Evergreen has been around since 2015 as a medical dispensary for medical cannabis.

Evergreen made a name for itself building community support in the cannabis scene. Residents wrote letters to authorities entirely supporting the store for the addition of recreational cannabis, a unique turn of events in Canada’s cannabis market.

Survey says

Deloitte did an in-depth study of Canadians and buying behavior with cannabis products. It also checked what Canadians wanted from legal retailers. The study prefaced the section with the fact Canadian consumers of recreational cannabis have been evolving

For retailers to make profits, they will need to meet the needs of the consumers. Presently, current users range in age from 18 to 34, use cannabis multiple times, are risk takers and are usually educated. The study points out that with the legalization, the age will change to 35-54, consumption will be a once a month indulgence, users have a high level of education as in college or graduate school and a conservative experimenter.

As for purpose, people will use cannabis to sleep easier. It reduces their stress and anxiety about life, improves the mood, decreases pain and does heighten the senses. Canadians want licenses in private retail stores but not necessarily in their neighborhood.

The list becomes highly specific after that on what consumer expectations are for retail stores: For one, a store should have staff with significant product knowledge came in at 71 percent whether a current or likely user; Putting a store in a known commercial safe area ranked 56 percent for current users and 49 percent for likely users; Marking prices on products came in at around 70 percent for both groups; and other criteria consumers wanted lists as clean and neat stores with convenient hours. Canadians also want to be spoken to as in greeting. The study listed much more.

Evergreen Cannabis Society has done those things since 2015 and even gave insights into the local newspaper venues about cannabis from the owners themselves.

People are using cannabis to help them sleep easier and reduce their stress and anxiety. (Source)

Other paths

At the same time, Evergreen Cannabis Society opened two government stores in Kamloops in British Columbia. Tamarack Cannabis Boutique received a license Nov. 1 in Kimberly. Like Evergreen Cannabis Society it has operated as a medical dispensary for several years. BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops opened Oct. 17, 2018. By the end of 2019, British Columbia will have eight stores open since many are in the final stage of licensing. Different licensing exists depending if it is retail as medical or recreational cannabis. Many provinces in Canada have specific requirements for their region.

Ontario released regulations last April, outlining their process for retail cannabis stores. The region has legalized recreational cannabis with its online store Ontario Cannabis Store. Licensed from Health Canada, it only purchases products from producers’ licensed by the government arm. It launched October 19, 2018, and on that day, they got 1.3 million visits to the website with 100,000 orders.

Province by province

Reuters in England did a detailed province listing summarized below.

In British Columbia, a hybrid model exists with the government and private retailers creating mutually beneficial relationships to sell. Applications filed near 300 now in Ontario privately owned stores opening in April with the online Ontario Cannabis Store filling needs for now. Quebec has in the plans 20 government stores. Since October it has opened nine stores and has an online site called sqdc.ca.

Nova Scotia decided to use its government-run liquor stores to sell cannabis and has online sales at www.mynslc.com/en/Cannabis. New Brunswick also has 20 government-run retail stores that opened in October and an online presence at cannabis-nb.com.

Prince Edward Island only has four government retail stores with three pending applications. Its online sales URL became peicannabiscorp.com. Manitoba gave four retail licenses, but each license can make multiple stores. It chose the consortium model with names like Delta 9 Cannabis and Canopy Growth Corporation(TSE: WEED). Five stores opened in October. Alberta had 17 stores total open in October and online sales at agle.ca. Saskatchewan had five stores open in October with a long list of others to open as they meet requirements.  

Newfoundland and Labrador had 22 stores open and an online webshop shopcannabisnl.com.

Many people have also started ordering products back in October, but the backlog in some provinces became huge and just recently in the past weeks cleared. Expect delays, remodeling of business models and changes as private retailers enter the market against well-established medical cannabis dispensaries adding a recreational cannabis arm.

(Featured photo by My 420 Tours via Wikimedia. CC SA-BY 4.0.)

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