Article by Armina Ligaya, Globe and Mail
Second Cup wants to serve up a different kind of buzz by converting some of its coffee shops into cannabis dispensaries.
The Canadian retailer announced Thursday that it has signed an agreement with marijuana clinic operator National Access Cannabis to develop and operate a network of recreational pot stores.
“This strategic relationship provides Second Cup with a great opportunity to leverage our select real estate assets to increase value for shareholders and franchisee partners,” said Second Cup chief executive Garry Macdonald in a statement.
The companies said in a joint release that the NAC-branded stores will initially be located across Western Canada, expanding to include additional provinces where legally permissible. NAC will apply for licenses to dispense cannabis products and work with Second Cup and applicable franchisees to construct stores carrying cannabis products.
Conversion of any Second Cup cafes to dispensaries will be conditional on obtaining a license from provincial regulators as well as the approval of the applicable franchisee and landlord.
Canada is preparing for the legalization of recreational marijuana later this year, but the distribution model for pot differs widely between provinces.
Private operators will be able to sell marijuana, after obtaining the appropriate licenses, in provinces including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. NAC is already among the organizations selected by Manitoba’s government to handle retail sales of recreational pot once legal.