With October 17th just around the corner, Canadian cannabis is ready to embrace the new era of legal recreational cannabis. The cannabis industry is a new frontier, and one that is multi-faceted in the many opportunities which exist to make profits. One such newly available facet is private retail sales, and now the race is on to secure a foothold in what will surely prove to be an extremely lucrative aspect of the business.
The excitement around retail sales escalated after the newly elected Progressive Conservative government of Ontario decided to scrap the creation of 150 brick-and-mortar Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) locations and instead opened cannabis retail up to the private sector. The decision means that the Ontario Cannabis Store will still operate as an online entity and now allow private retail sales of cannabis in Ontario. The OCS online retail store is slated to be up and running for October 17th, 2018 but physical private retail stores will have to wait until April 1st, 2019.
The decision to allow legal private retail stores is good news for the industry, taxpayers and consumers as it creates jobs and saves consumers money. It is also a good move in terms of guarding against an illegal underground industry because legal private retail is better suited to meeting the demands of customers. The private sector will still be heavily regulated and overseen by the provincial government via the OCS to ensure a safe, competitive and inclusive landscape is created for businesses and consumers alike.
Private retail is big news for Licensed producers countrywide who have been proactively looking for any opportunity to expand their businesses. There have been all sorts of deals being made between LP’s and large companies lately, with a prime example being Constellation Brands Inc. investing in cannabis producer Canopy Growth. Alongside a whole host of mergers and acquisitions, securing retail store locations is now the newest craze as LP’s look to solidify their foothold in the cannabis market.
Dubbed the ‘new frontier of the new frontier’ developing retail cannabis stores is a great way for licensed producers to further diversify within the increasingly crowded cannabis market. Many have said it was inevitable that Canadian producers would get into distribution and the announcement of private retail is like the shot from a starters pistol. This type of vertical integration gives producers another avenue to sell their products and offers a competitive edge.
Ontario Licensed Producer INDIVA Ltd. hasn’t wasted anytime in preparing for private retail. This week the company announced its plans to open up to ten cannabis dispensaries across the province of Ontario next year. So far, INDIVA has secured leases in Ottawa and London, with leases in Toronto still being negotiated.
COO and GC of INDIVA, Koby Smutylo, had this to say, “By having retail outlets we will add an additional revenue stream, grow brand awareness, and promote client loyalty. We are moving quickly to sign leases in areas of high traffic and high population density in Ontario. Subject to applicable laws, our dispensaries will carry cannabis products we produce, cannabis products of other licensed producers, and accessories.”
To help ensure that they are ready to have its retail locations hit the ground running, INDIVA is already working with a well-known design firm that has worked with top level brands such as Ray Ban, J.Crew and Nordstrom. The goal is to deliver a safe, professional and well-designed retail experience to customers.
INDIVA Ltd. continually shows its versatility and willingness to fight for its stake in Canada’s cannabis market. Previously, INDIVA has entered into agreements with edibles producers BHANG Corp. and DeepCell Industries in order to roll out a complete line of cannabis infused beverages and edibles. Now, retail sales outlets are the logical next step in a line of diversifications that are keeping a smaller Licensed Producer like INDIVA growing and poised for success.