The legalization of cannabis in Canada is on the horizon. Canadian provinces are taking different approaches to how it will be sold to the public.
The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC) grabbed attention in April for identifying its first store locations. But it was the accompanying call for product suppliers that caught my eye as a business professor. It hints at OCRC’s future relationships with cannabis growers and consumers.
Every province except Saskatchewan will use its liquor agency as the central distributor of recreational cannabis. The agencies will buy it from licensed growers and ship it to retailers. But each province will go its own way regarding how cannabis will be sold to consumers.
Western provinces will mostly rely on businesses for retail sales. Manitoba for example has accepted four applications for province-wide cannabis chains. Alberta saw 226 applications for independent stores in Calgary alone.
Meanwhile, eastern provinces will set up government-owned outlets. Nova Scotia will sell cannabis in nine liquor stores. Quebec’s liquor agency instead will set up dedicated stores. There will be at least four in Montreal.
Ontario likewise created OCRC as a liquor board subsidiary. But its cannabis stores will be separate from liquor outlets.
OCRC’s call most notably indicated that it doesn’t have any confirmed suppliers yet. Growers had until May 2, 2018, to submit offers. OCRC hopes shipments could begin June 1. But that optimistically leaves just four weeks to negotiate contracts and schedule deliveries.