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article imageSecond Cup may convert Ontario stores to marijuana dispensaries

By Ken Hanly     Aug 16, 2018 in Business
The Second Cup Ltd. is reviewing locations in Ontario to be potentially converted to cannabis retail stores after the Conservative provincial government has changed it policies to allow private retailers to sell recreational marijuana.
Ontario to allow private sales of marijuana
Second Cup Ltd. says it is actively reviewing locations in Ontario for potential conversion to cannabis retail stores in light of policy changes in the province.
The company’s announcement comes after Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government said it would allow private retailers to sell recreational marijuana starting next April.
Second Cup had announced a partnership with marijuana clinic operator National Access Cannabis in April to potentially convert coffee shops to retail stores under the brand Meta Cannabis Supply Co.
The companies said they had been focused on Western Canada, as Ontario had planned to sell cannabis through provincial liquor commissions, in line with policies in Quebec and several Atlantic provinces. However that has now changed.
Second Cup and National Access Cannabis say any conversions of coffee shops to cannabis shops is conditional on securing a retail license from provincial regulators, and approval from franchisees and landlords.
Second Cup has numerous locations in Ontario
Second Cup claims to have more than 130 location in Ontario and it can potentially use some to enter the cannabis market.
National Access Cannabis has a target of opening 50 to 70 retail stores in Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia this year.
Privately run cannabis stores are the best way to curb black market sales, Ontario Conservatives claim.
The Conservative government is abandoning plans to sell marijuana through stores run by a subsidiary of the lCBO the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
Other companies scrambling to purchase store locations
A recent article in the Ottawa Citizen notes the companies involved: "Three of the companies have Ottawa-area connections. Canopy Growth Corp. is in Smiths Falls, National Access Cannabis has headquarters in Ottawa and Fire & Flower is partly owned by Gatineau cannabis grower Hexo (formerly Hydropothecary). The fourth is Aurora Cannabis based in Western Canada, one of the country’s largest cannabis growers."
Jeffrey Lizotte, CEO of Next Wave Brands a cannabis consulting company pointed out that Ontario is the largest market for marijuana and will become the primary target and battleground for cannabis retailers. He also remarked that major retailers would want to set up stores in the province. Loblaw has already won the right to set up stores both in the province of Newfoundland and the city of Calgary in Alberta.
Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedli said that Ontario would learn from the experiences of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta which have adopted private store models.
More about Recreational marijuana in Ontario, Second Cup, National Access Cannabis
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