Canadians are one step closer to buying legal weed. Yesterday, Cannabis NL, the division of the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation, revealed where you will be able to buy marijuana across the Northern province. Here’s what officials are saying, and what critics are denouncing.
A Closer Look At The Retail Locations
There will be 24 retail locations across the province, combined. Out of reportedly over 80 applications, only a quarter received approval. There will be four types of stores, labeled Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively.
The first type will be locations that only sell cannabis. This will be the most common type. The second will be a designated area within a store not dedicated to marijuana. You’ll need to be 19 years or older to enter Tier 1 and 2 stores. The third and the fourth will be service desks. Marijuana products will be hidden from view in the four type.
Most marijuana vendors will be large supermarkets since they already have liquor licenses. A chain with over 2,000 supermarket locations in Canada, Loblaw’s, has the most licenses so far.
Here’s the complete list of who has progressed to the next step of the licensing process:
- Bay Roberts: Loblaws
- Carbonear: Loblaws
- Clarenville: C & K Rentals Ltd and Cape d’Or Holdings
- Corner Brook: Canopy Growth, Loblaws
- Conception Bay: The Healthy Vibe, Canopy Growth and Loblaws
- Conne River: Miawpukek Mi’kamawey Mawi’omi
- Deer Lake: Cape d’Or Holdings
- Flatrock: Dee Dee’s Shoppe
- Holyrood: Holyrood Medical
- Gander: Loblaws
- Grand Falls-Windsor: Loblaws
- Labrador City: Tobin’s Convenience
- Mount Pearl: Loblaws and Canopy Growth
- Portugal Cove: Thomas H Clarke,
- St John’s: 2 Canopy Growths, 2 Loblaws, Cape d’Or Holdings, The Herbal Centre and The Healthy Vibe
- Stephenville: Loblaws
Some Areas Don’t Have Licensed Retailers
As seen in California, there are parts of the province where there were either no applicants or the government didn’t approve any licenses.
So far, the Bonavista Peninsula, the Northern Peninsula, the Burin Peninsula, Central Labrador and Southern Newfoundland have yet to receive any proposals.
Labrador City is looking to give out one new license. These locations are reopening submissions in hopes that they will get more applications.
The Problem With Newfoundland and Labrador’s Licensing Process
Looking at the list of licensed businesses, it’s hard not to notice the dominance of a national chain. Many residents have noticed, too, and are worried that weed is only friendly to big business.
Director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business Vaughn Hammond sees this as a flaw in the process. He explained to CBC, “The structure of the RFP to begin with more or less made it difficult for small business owners to even come up with an operation that could even meet their requirements and criteria.”
Other see the overrepresentation of big corporations as a natural evolution. Newfoundland Liquor Corporation president Sharon Sparkes claimed, “I do think it’s somewhat challenging for a retailer right now with a brand new industry, so I guess I’m not surprised by the fact that the majority are established retailers.”
The Application Process Isn’t Over Yet
The government isn’t guaranteeing these approved businesses a license, at least not yet. Overall, the entire process takes between 5 and 7 weeks. Plus, local governments, eager to meet demand in September, are hoping to add to this list.
Additionally, these dispensaries will be getting most of their weed from the same massive distributor: Canopy Growth. In other words, you won’t be seeing vastly different product depending who runs the dispensary.