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Sep 8, 2017

From paper bags to 'fancy' shopping: Canopy Growth CEO sees upscale future for cannabis sales

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One of largest licensed marijuana producers sees Ontario’s plan to put cannabis in stores as a step towards better marketing opportunities and a wider range of products.

The provincial government announced a plan to start with 40 stores in July 2018, expanding to as many as 150 by 2020, all based on the model of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton says the LCBO model may mean a shift to a better customer experience over time.

“The store will feel a bit like somewhere between cigarettes and alcohol,” Linton told BNN in an interview Friday. “Liquor stores used to involve brown paper bags and bits of paper. Now they’re a pretty fancy shopping format. What I think you want to look at is where we begin and how rapidly directly we become competitive to the sorts of alcohol and liquor intoxicants.”

Among the regulations announced Friday were age limits, distribution, supply plans and pricing among others.

One platform the government has not budged on yet, however, is legalizing oils and edibles – as the legislation announced by the federal government in April deferred judgment on those products in favour of laying groundwork for the sale of cannabis itself.

However, Linton believes it’s only a matter of time before the government comes around on edibles and oils in order to compete in the marketplace.

“If they’re going to compete with the black market – which is the stated purpose – you can’t say ‘we don’t make what they make with cannabis, but we’re competing with them.’” Linton told BNN. “That won’t be true. The pressure to compete is there.”