Canada Prepares for 420: Canadian Cannabis Companies Open Their Doors for April
Stocks Discussed - Westleaf Inc. (TSX-V: WL) (OTCQB: WSLFF), Choom Holdings (CSE: CHOO) (OTC: CHOOF), Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (TSXV: FAF), Lift & Co. Corp. (TSXV: LIFT) (OTC: LFCOF)
Point Roberts, WA and Delta, BC - April 3, 2019 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Investorideas.com, a leading investor news resource covering hemp and cannabis stocks releases the first of a two part series focusing on the Canadian cannabis landscape as companies prepare to have stores open and products available for April 20th (aka 420); the preeminent cannabis celebration.
Recreational cannabis may have been legalized in Canada on October 17th, 2018 but there is still much to be desired with regards to infrastructure and retail availability. That is thankfully about to change because many companies throughout Canada are now in the final phases of retail and product development, and most are using the month of April for a promotional launch platform as many Canadian's gear up for 420.
Westleaf Inc. (TSX-V: WL) (OTCQB: WSLFF), set to become one of Western Canada's largest premium cannabis retailers, is looking to make the most of April. They announced plans to open two Prairie Records stores in Saskatoon by April 20, in celebration of the day that was synonymous with cannabis legalization activities. Under a license agreement, the two stores are being built out under the Prairie Records brand by the current license holders. Prairie Records currently has a store operating in Warman, Saskatchewan, approximately 20 minutes from Saskatoon.
"Saskatoon and all of Saskatchewan is proving to be one of the strongest cannabis retail markets in Canada as the sector continues to evolve and mature," says Scott Hurd, President and CEO of Westleaf. "We have the opportunity to deal directly with licensed producers in stocking our shelves, we are able to sell online across the province through our e-commerce platform, and the ratio of stores to market size make Saskatoon an ideal location to operate cannabis retail."
The two stores, both in premium locations are planned to open in time to celebrate April 20th, the day associated with the push to legalize cannabis. "While Prairie Records creates a unique and totally different cannabis retail experience, we do want to recognize the day that activists used to bring attention to the injustice of the illegalization of cannabis for many years," noted Adam Coates, Chief Commercial Officer at Westleaf. "We are planning some exciting events around the opening of these stores, bringing together the community in celebration of local music and to highlight the relationship between music and cannabis."
Aurora invested $27 million in the Choom's private placement and the convertible debenture offering. During the past year, Choom secured 22 cannabis retail opportunities in Alberta and British Columbia and completed the acquisition of Clarity Cannabis Medical Centres, which included five new medical centers and a telemedicine platform.
Last month, the company completed the build-out of a customized e-commerce channel through a licensed enterprise-level platform and signed a deal to acquire Clarity Cannabis Retail Stores in Alberta, adding 30 retail locations in Alberta, 3 of which have been licensed by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis Commission.
Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (TSXV: FAF), announced the opening of Fire & Flower York Street Cannabis, Ontario's first Fire & Flower branded store in Ottawa's ByWard Market on April 1st. This location is the tenth Fire & Flower branded licensed cannabis shop in Canada, and recently achieved opening day system sales in excess of $50,000.
"Today is an exciting day for Fire & Flower as we introduce our retail experience to the Ontario market and marks another important stage of our growth strategy," shared Trevor Fencott, Chief Executive Officer of Fire & Flower. "Our retail team has worked alongside our Ottawa license holder to build out a best-in-class cannabis retail shop as private cannabis retail is introduced to consumers in Ontario."
It's one thing to have these stores open but they will need employees to work them. As Ontario launched its cannabis retail sales on April 1, 2019, Lift & Co. Corp. (TSXV: LIFT) (OTC: LFCOF) announced that the Company has granted more than 600 CannSell certificates to the Province's aspiring cannabis retail employees since launching CannSell just over one month ago. In total, more than 1,500 Ontarians have created a CannSell profile, and nearly 800 have enrolled in the mandatory, accredited training program that the CBC calls "like Smart Serve, but for cannabis." Interest in CannSell has accelerated leading up to the opening of Ontario retail stores on April 1, with more than a third of CannSell sales and certificates coming within the last week.
These announced numbers signal an overwhelming demand by prospective budtenders to enter the industry and the Company's ability to influence them through CannSell. Cannabis retail employees play a central role in cannabis purchases. A recent US survey indicates that more than 90% of consumers strongly consider the retail employee's recommendation when making a cannabis purchase.
Canadian legal recreational cannabis is still very much in its infancy stage but with the many dispensary and retail operations expected to open in April and May, both investors and Canadian consumers will have a chance to really see what national recreational cannabis looks like. This year's 420 celebration will be one for the books as many Canadian cannabis enterprises look to celebrate the end of a long wait and for the Canadian cannabis industry to really take off and mature.
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