Looming Legalization Spurs ‘Massive Interest’ in Marijuana Retail Opportunities in Calgary

Article by Jennifer Lee, CBC News

Looming legalization spurs 'massive interest' in marijuana retail opportunities in Calgary 'I think that they just want to establish themselves as names in that industry right now,' says city official. Marijuana industry insiders say they have met with the operators of Canada's largest stock exchange to devise a policy on investing in the U.S., where growing and selling cannabis violates federal laws. Matt Zabloski, business strategist with the city's community standards department said getting a marijuana counselling license won't necessarily put businesses in a better position once the drug is legalized.

As the federal government’s deadline for legalizing marijuana approaches, dozens of Calgarians are jockeying to cash in on the ensuing business opportunities.

According to the City of Calgary there are currently two businesses with development permits to operate as medical marijuana counselling services and six more applications have been submitted over the last few months.

City council approved the new land-use bylaw definition in June of 2016 to accommodate businesses that provide information about cannabis. Unlike medical marijuana clinics, counselling services don’t necessarily have a doctor on staff.

“I think that they just want to establish themselves as names in that industry right now so they have that recognition when things go live as of July next year,” said Matt Zabloski, business strategist with the city’s community standards department.

But having a medical marijuana counselling service permit won’t put businesses any further ahead once legalization kicks in.

“What we’ve been very clear with all applicants is that if they are making an application for a counselling service, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be any easier for them in getting a cannabis retail shop at the end of the day,” said Zabloski.

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