Canada Isn’t Ready For October 17
Only 1 Store In BC Will Be Open, Most Canadians Don’t Know Where To Buy
With less than a month to go until recreational cannabis is legalized in Canada, it seems that most provinces are still scrambling to get ready
According to Mike Farnworth, public safety minister for British Columbia, BC will be able to meet the demand for recreational cannabis through the sole government shop plus an online store by October 17. BC Cannabis Store, located in Kamloops, will be the only retail outlet open in the entire province by October 17. “This is the largest public policy shift in this country in decades and it’s not something that just happens overnight,” Farnworth disclosed during an interview.
“The fact that we went out and said we’re going to consult with local government and make sure that communities are involved right from the get-go was the right approach to take. To say that because you only have one store, this is a failure, quite frankly I just don’t accept that one bit.”
He adds that the Kamloops shop is only the beginning, and he expects several shops both public and private to open soon after legalization is official. Farnworth also says that on October 17, more private shops may open, considering that BC got around 115 paid applications for shops.
The CTV News report also said that Ian Dawkins expects around 6 private shops to open within the first month and a half although it’s “absolutely not” adequate. Dawkins, president of the Cannabis Commerce Association of Canada, criticized BC for not moving fast enough on the matter; saying that they failed to make sure that people selling in the black market will be able to participate by October 17. “Somebody who is in Vernon or Surrey wants to go buy some cannabis. They can’t,” Dawkins said. “OK, so I’m going to buy it on a website? I’ve never smelled this cannabis before. I don’t like the idea of it coming in the mail, maybe. I’m not able to have a conversation with the person selling it to me about the effects.”
Canadians Don’t Know Where To Get Their Weed
The results of a new survey revealed that most Canadians still don’t know where they’re going to be getting their pot by October 17.
The survey, conducted by Lift & Co., a cannabis research firm, showed that 58% of Canadians aren’t sure how to obtain legal recreational cannabis. The data was collected from 1,500 randomly selected Canadian adults, from the survey which took place from September 5 & 6, 2018.
Lift & Co. CEO Matei Olaru believes that the fact that the process involved in rolling out shops differs greatly in each province, which answers the reason why there’s such a big knowledge gap.
Olaru tells HuffPost Canada that in Ontario, 60% of survey participants said they don’t know where to get legal weed. “Up to a few months ago, Ontario was going to be a public system with the Ontario Cannabis Store, essentially running their stores. But recently there was a change and they went private,” Olaru tells HuffPost Canada. “And now there’s a bit of a time gap where we won’t know what those private retailers will look like, where they’ll be, how you could even be one.”
The survey revealed that out of all the provinces, those located in Atlantic Canada have the most knowledge when it comes to obtaining weed but around 44% of them admitted that they still don’t know where to get it. With the exception of Labrador and Newfoundland, most provinces here will have government-operated shops.
“So one thought process is Ontario’s had a recent change, and perhaps that has led to a larger knowledge gap versus Atlantic Canada that has been stable for some time, and has been better communicated,” Olaru disclosed.
Meanwhile, 59% of people living in BC still don’t know how to get their pot and Manitobans seems to be the most puzzled about it with 73% reporting to having no idea where to get weed. Manitoba would allow private retailers to run shops and there won’t be any government-owned outlets but licenses have been given to four private groups who are likely to launch 30 cannabis outlets in Manitoba.
Olaru adds that based on company research taken early this year, only half of current cannabis users know what they are consuming. “And those purchasing for the first time will have a very hard time learning about the product or the category if you have to rely on a website or licensed producer marketing, where they’re prohibited from saying things about their product – you really need that touch point to educate.”