MEDICINE HAT, AB — Stores across Canada are working overtime to ensure they’re ready for cannabis legalization 20 days from now.
NewLeaf Cannabis has permits for two cannabis retail stores in Medicine Hat. One will be located on Third Street Southeast, while the other will be located on Trans Canada Way. The company is also planning on opening a shop in Redcliff.
“We’re really excited to get our second development permit for our Trans-Canada location yesterday,” said Angus Taylor, one of the founders of New Leaf Cannabis, over the phone from Calgary. “We have an interim business licence as well for at least one of those locations. I think the other one will come shortly, and construction is about to begin.”
“We hope that we will have those stores open, perhaps not by October 17th, but shortly thereafter.”
Taylor says once the construction is finished, the stores will be comfortable and accessible for all adults, describing the look and feel of the stores as similar to a jewellery store.
“This is not a dirty head shop, this is a high-end retail experience,” he said.
The company also hosted a hiring fair at the Medicine Hat Lodge on Thursday. Taylor says they’re aiming to have 15 employees at both locations hired and trained for opening day.
Taylor says the provincial government is anticipating 250 cannabis stores will be approved in the province by October 17th, but not every store will be open.
“There will be a lot of stores eventually, but they will take time to build up,” he said.
Taylor adds they see the market one day being flooded, but it won’t happen immediately.
“We do think the competition is going to be fierce for a long time though, and it’s going to be a more difficult business than many people are assuming that it’s going to be,” he said. “It’s not a high margin business either, so we think that some people might be going into this with the expectation that they’ve bought themselves a lottery ticket, and we think it’s going to be a very competitive business to be in.
“Hopefully not too cut throat, but eventually, as more and more corporations participate, it’s going to be highly competitive.”
Taylor says they’re hoping the atmosphere and knowledge from their staff will set their business apart from others.
“More than anything, what we’re offering is an opportunity to improve your knowledge about cannabis in an environment where we think there’s going to be a great customer experience,” he said.
Taylor adds they expect their store in Redcliff to open up in November.
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