Article by David Akin, National Post
Pick up a hard copy of today’s National Post or one of our Postmedia broadsheets like The Ottawa Citizen or Vancouver Sun and you’ll find a big feature of mine that looks ahead to some of the issues for potential retailers of cannabis products once the Trudeau government legalizes marijuana.
It’s going to be a big business: One Bay Street economist figures pot retailers will sell $10-billion a year worth of cannabis products. I’ve seen estimates that the Canadian market could grow to $20-billion a year. To put that in perspective, Statistics Canada says Canucks bought $9-billion worth of beer 2014-2015. So this cannabis market could be bigger than beer!
So where are we going to buy these cannabis products? Right now, the only legal way to acquire cannabis products is by mail from a licensed producer. Purchasers need a prescription. But there’s a booming market — grey at best, black at worst — of what are called pot dispensaries, storefront operations where you can walk in and — so long as you’ve got an easily acquired prescription — buy what you need. I’ll introduce you to some of these independent pot retailers in my piece today.
Now, as if right on cue, Vancouver-based pollster Insights West is out today with a survey of the attitudes of Canadians about pot retailers and other cannabis issues. Some findings:
- 36 per cent of all Canadians say they’re cool with pot being sold in stand-alone stories set up for the purpose of selling cannabis products versus 29 per cent who think it should be sold in drugstores or pharmacies, while 16 per cent think selling pot products is a job best left to liquor stores or other outlets where alcoholic beverages are sold.
- Most current and regular marijuana users say they get what they need “from a friend” (51 per cent) while 14 per cent of regular users get it from a dispensary.
- A significant majority (57%) of current regular marijuana users say they will abandon the way they get their pot now and buy it from a licensed store if and when that becomes legal.