Article by Colin Bambury, High! Canada
The way cannabis is sold will vary greatly depending on which province you are in. Below is a summary of the proposed provincial cannabis retail models across the country.
Manitoba has chosen to allow a private retail model. Four entities have initially been selected to operate retail locations for recreational cannabis in the province. The four groups are:
1) A partnership between Delta 9 Cannabis and Canopy Growth Corporation
2) Hiku / Tokyo Smoke in partnership with BOBHQ (a head shop with locations across the Prairies)
3) National Access Cannabis (or their new recreational brand, Meta)
4) New company named “10552763 Canada Corporation” consisting of the Fisher River Cree Nation in Manitoba, Chippewas of The Thames first nation in Ontario, Barrie-based Medipharm labs, Toronto-based Avana Canda inc. and Colorado-based Native Roots Dispensary.
Ontario has chosen a public retail model for recreational cannabis. The province will open government-controlled stores named the OCS (Ontario Cannabis Store) – a subsidiary of the LCBO (the provincial liquor board). The province plans to open 40 locations in the first year of legalization and 150 stores are expected by 2020. There is currently only 1 location announced for the city of Toronto, which has 2.8 million residents and over 60 illegal dispensaries actively operating.
The Ontario Cannabis Store expressed interest in sourcing product and accessories from both large and small craft producers. The province inked a deal with e-commerce platform Shopify for cannabis sales online and in stores.
New Brunswick has chosen a public retail model for recreational cannabis. The province will open government-controlled stores named the Cannabis NB – a subsidiary of NB Liquor (the provincial liquor board). The province plans to open 11 stores in the first year of legalization and has already announced the retail locations.
The province has signed agreements with 4 licensed producers to supply recreational cannabis to the Cannabis NB. The four LPs are: Organigram, Canopy Growth Corporation, Zenabis and Nuuvera Inc.
British Columbia has chosen a mixed (both public and private) retail model for recreational cannabis. Wholesale will be controlled by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB). Public cannabis stores and online sales of recreational cannabis will operate under the new brand ‘BC Cannabis Stores’. The private licensing application should be made available soon. Vancouver has issued municipal licenses to several private dispensaries. It is not clear if these approved businesses will be ushered into the new legal market.
Alberta has chosen a private retail model for recreational cannabis. The provincial government will control online sales. The province expects to license 250 stores in the first year of legalization. Licensing and wholesale will be controlled by the Alcohol Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC). The province began accepting applications in March and will continue to do so.
Some companies that have applied for several licenses in the province are: SpiritLeaf, Canndara, AlCanna (previously “Liquor Store”), WestLeaf Cannabis, High Tide Ventures and Fire and Flower Co.
Saskatchewan has chosen a private retail model for recreational cannabis. The province chose 51 winners for licenses in a “random lottery draw”. Tweed Grasslands of Yorkton (Canopy Growth Corporation) was awarded five permits in five different communities. Synergy Five Investments LP won three permits in three different communities.
Among the other winners issued licenses in the province are: Fire and Flower Co., Kolab Project, Aura Cannabis Inc, Beleave Inc, Flower Power Cannabis Pharms, WestLeaf Retail and Prairie Sky Cannabis. Other licenses were awarded to various companies, single individuals and groups of people.
Quebec has chosen a public retail model for recreational cannabis. The province will open government-controlled stores named the “Societe Quebecoi se du Cannabis” – a new subsidiary of the SAQ (Societe des Alcools du Quebec). The province expects to open 20 stores within the first year of legalization. Quebec is expecting to open 100-150 stores after three years. There will be no self-service and products will be kept behind the counter.
The province has signed supply agreements with six licensed producers. They are: The Hydropothecary, Canopy Growth Corp., MedReleaf, Aphria, Tilray and Aurora.
Nova Scotia has chosen a public retail model for recreational cannabis. Cannabis will be sold through the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) and the provincial government will control online sales. Cannabis sections will be added to existing NSLC locations. Nova Scotia is the only province where cannabis will be sold exclusively through liquor stores. The province has announced the 9 NSLC locations where cannabis will be sold.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island has chosen a public retail model for recreational cannabis. The province will open 4 stand-alone locations in the first year of legalization. The locations will be in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague and West Prince. The province will control all online sales of cannabis. PEI has signed a supply agreement with three licensed producers. They are: Canopy Growth Corporation, Organigram, and Canada’s Island Garden.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland has chosen a private retail model for recreational cannabis. Wholesale and licensing will be overseen by the provincial liquor corporation’s new subsidiary – Cannabis NL. 24 locations have currently been chosen by Cannabis NL out of 80 applicants.
10 of the approved cannabis retail locations will be attached to Loblaw’s and Dominion grocery stores where alcohol is already sold. Initially, 41 licenses will be issued. This is not including 4 stores owned and operated by Canopy Growth Corporation’s Tweed brand. Canopy is currently the only licensed producer that has signed a supply agreement with Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Northwest Territories will sell recreational cannabis in liquor stores operated by the province’s Liquor Commission.
Nunavut’s draft legislation allows for private enterprises to apply for a license to sell cannabis. Nunavut sees economic opportunities as one of the benefits. The act also allows for cannabis lounges and temporary event licenses.
Yukon is planning sales through the Yukon Liquor Corporation and online. The province’s drafted legislation includes a process for licensing private retail in the future.