Riocan Primed to Cash in on Cannabis ‘Gold Rush’ Amid Real Estate Portfolio Shift

Article by Rachelle Younglai, The Globe and Mail

Riocan primed to cash in on cannabis ‘gold rush’ amid real estate portfolio shift RACHELLE YOUNGLAI Marijuana plants grow at MedReleaf in Markham, Ont., on June 21, 2018. Riocan, one of Canada's largest retail landlords, is positioning itself to reap the benefits of cannabis's looming legalization in Canada. The company already holds about a dozen cannabis leases in Alberta and two with the Ontario government's Ontario Cannabis Store. WARREN TODA/THE CANADIAN PRESS

RioCan, one of Canada’s largest retail landlords, is aiming to benefit from what its top executive calls the marijuana “gold rush.”
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Edward Sonshine, CEO of RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, said on Wednesday that the company is well positioned ahead of the legalization of recreational cannabis on Oct. 17.
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RioCan already has about a dozen cannabis leases in Alberta and two with the Ontario government’s Ontario Cannabis Store. The cannabis retail landscape will vary from province to province.
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Including cannabis stores in its mix of retailers is one way RioCan is transforming its portfolio. The trust has been divesting dozens of shopping centres across the country to focus on Canada’s six largest real-estate markets: Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary.
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“We own some of the best real estate,” Mr. Sonshine said.
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“The gold rush will be, we will have lots of people wanting the same piece of real estate.”
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British Columbia favours a public-private hybrid system, while Alberta has adopted a private model. Quebec will rely on a public model and Ontario is planning to open up the market to private cannabis dispensers.

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