Ontario Ramping up Cannabis Store Licencing to 30 per Week
Although Ontario was slow out of the gate to license cannabis retailers. It now seems they've made a conscious effort to reverse this to become the market leader that Canada's largest province should be.
This week Ontario announced they will be increasing the rate at which they will issue new licenses to 30/ week! The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) said it took effect on Tuesday, Feb 16th. This will result in a flood of new store openings to a market that desperately needs it.
Currently there are 430 stores licensed in Ontario which is much lower than Alberta which is host to over 580. This is especially relevant when you see that Ontario is home to more than 3x the population of Alberta. Even with the 940 stores in the Ontario pipeline for licensing they will still be behind Alberta on a per capita basis.
Tuesday’s announcement is the third time the AGCO has increased the pace of new cannabis store licenses in less than 6 months. This is welcome news to the cannabis stores waiting to open, as many are locked into fixed costs that continue no matter when the doors open up. This will also be a huge benefit for the consumers looking to purchase products nearby, as they will have more choice and access to the strains they desire.
One thing we know is that competition will be increasing from here on out. In an industry where the majority of stores are selling similar products in combination with the tight regulations on how they can advertise, it can seem daunting on how to succeed. The first things that come to mind are creating an inviting environment and educating the customer so they can get the desired effects to enjoy the experience, which will keep them coming back. Online age gated platforms are also a great way to highlight your stores and reach your target market. Instaleaf.ca is one example of a platform that allows you to highlight your store and increase traffic by linking in your menu and driving traffic through the find near me feature/ geo located strain finder.
A little over 2.5 years into legalization and we're still early on. There is no blueprint to what we're doing as it's getting written as we go, and the rest of the world is watching. Can't help but be excited for what's to come!
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