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Friday, March 31, 2023

‘Pot Store’ panic plagues the Canadian cannabis industry

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Politicians are panicking about retail cannabis – the industry is not entertaining.

In the past month or two, local news reporters across Ontario have emerged from the pandemic and have noticed, apparently, with some shock, that the cannabis trade has exploded.

There are over 1,000 licensed stores in Ontario, and just over 2,700 across Canada. These cannabis shops—which the mainstream media insists on calling utensils storesThey are often concentrated in urban and commercial areas.

Are there a lot of pot shops in your area?

Read the Toronto Star title.

But unlike other businesses, such as stores or cafes, the spread of retail cannabis has been treated as a cause for concern among residents and politicians.

“Are there too many pot shops in your area?” asks a toronto star; He writes, “The harsh reality of cannabis dealers as pot shops multiply.” CBC. in a Bloomberg, we hear analysts are “starting to sound the alarm.”

You get the point.

But is the boom of the cannabis trade in Ontario really a cause for concern (and new legislation)? Some industry professionals would like to see the focus shifted to the things that need fixing.

From license lottery to green rush

In 2018, Ontario received a lot of press about the lack of retail cannabis sites due to their existence Confused lottery system. Now, Ontario is once again in the spotlight, two and a half years later, because of its presence Lots of cannabis stores.

For many people working in the cannabis industry, the sudden interest in the proliferation of retail cannabis is a bit disconcerting — after all, the private market was what the province picked in 2018.

It may have taken a while to ramp up, but the private market approach has certainly resulted in a lot of cannabis stores popping up. But is this really the case for too many? Ontario exceeds 1,000 stores Exactly what experts expected when the legalization started.

Last month , Two members of the Toronto Council Support a regional opposition bill that would give cities the power to regulate where retail cannabis stores open in an effort to boost retail diversity. “We’re seeing less diversity and diversity in the number of retailers,” board member Kristen Wong Tam told CBC.

“I don’t think a day goes by without at least one piece of news about the number of stores in Ontario or Toronto,” says Chad Finkelstein, an attorney for the cannabis industry. “I have friends and family calling and saying, ‘How can there be so many stores?'” Can they all survive? ”

As he says, many people seem to want to blame that—as if 1,000 stores are market failures. Since Ontario has reached a milestone, politicians are treating cannabis stores as an urgent concern.

Superette has four storefronts in Toronto, as well as two in Ottawa. Favorite

“It created a very unconventional dynamic,” says Mimi Lamm, founder of Superette department stores in Ottawa and Toronto.

There is a degree of dismay among retailers like Lam and lobbyists such as the President of the Ontario Cannabis Trade Council, Adam Vasos, over the idea of ​​allowing more overlapping regulation from cities and the province.

Vasos explains that while the numbers have grown rapidly, there are upsides to the boom in retail stores. It is designed for a more competitive market, which ultimately benefits consumers, and helps reduce illegal cannabis sales. Which, after all, was the main objective of legalization in the first place.

The current retail cannabis game is far from perfect

Instead, a better approach might be to fix what He is A mistake in retail cannabis.

“I’d like to be able to organize my cannabis products the way I want them to be curated,” says Lamm. She would have liked to sell more goods, or let people hang out in her stores, but she couldn’t. Not now anyway.

So-called pot shops can be vital community hubs if they are not heavily organized. The stores look boring and lifeless from the outside, and regulations treat them more like novelty stores for adults than LCBO’s.

“That’s actually my biggest problem. It’s not the size of the cannabis stores,” Finkelstein says. “I think neighborhoods and communities lose out when you have all these windows covered.”

Cannabis retail is treated more like adult new product stores than retail alcohol. (Photo by Jesse Mills/Leafly)

In Ontario, stores are required to keep cannabis products out of the public eye. So blinds, frosted glass, long doorways, walls, etc. are used so that no one can see inside. It cuts off the inside of stores from the outside world, which can be so Dangerous to employees and intimidating customers.

“You have store after store where something is lost, both visually and visually. When everything looks like it’s covered? It’s not visually appealing.”

Like it or not, that’s what we wanted, the billion dollar industry that legislation was always supposed to create. We should treat legal cannabis as a legitimate retail venture, not a dirty secret to hide behind stained glass.

“Let the market decide,” Finkelstein says, barely concealing his frustration with the way the stores were reported in the media. “These are entrepreneurs who are taking great risks. That is part of the beauty of entrepreneurship.”

Kieran Delamont

Kiran is a writer and photographer based in Nova Scotia, located in Mikmaki, the ancestral and unrecognized area of ​​the Mikmaq people. His work has appeared in Broadview, The Walrus, Maisonneuve and elsewhere, and he has been writing about the cannabis industry since 2016.

View Kieran Delamont’s articles

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