Article by Jeff Slack, Sudbury.com
Ottawa’s cannabis retailers are looking back on the challenges faced over the last year, as they ventured into a brand new industry, creating something from virtually nothing.
CEO of Fire and Flower Trevor Fencott said Thursday, on the official one-year mark since weed became legal in Canada, many business owners approached the industry with cautious optimism.
“I think safety was an important factor, which it should be,” Fencott said. “I think what we learned was that the world didn’t stop. People kept going to their jobs, there wasn’t this sort of cannabis apocalypse with stoned zombies running the streets. It was pretty much business as usual for the country.”
Fencott explained there were clear winner and loser provinces when it came to introducing legal cannabis. He highlighted Alberta as a clear winner with their plan to privatize the system, introducing around 300 stores.
Ontario came out as a loser, in his opinion, because it’s lottery system limited the amount of retail stores in the province.
“I think the first lottery, for example, was probably a good idea because things were very limited, but I don’t think the second lottery was ideal though, because supply simply isn’t an issue anymore,” Fencott said. “It’s not a bad thing to have a failed experiment — it’s really what you take away from that.”
Ontario holds 40 per cent of the country’s population and has 24 stores. The government is in the process of increasing that number to 75.