One year after recreational weed became legal in Canada, a local retailer is optimistic the cannabis market will have a positive impact on Canada’s economy in the future.
“Maybe a lot of people don’t agree with cannabis but the one nice thing is that at least it is a safe product; it hasn’t been tainted with anything that’s going to harm anybody. The government is collecting tax dollars from it which is giving them an influx of money to stabilize the economy as well,” says House of Hybrids owner Phil Zweirs
House of Hybrids was the second store to open on the Alberta side of Lloydminster. The store opened on November 24, 2018, just under a month after Plant Life opened its doors. For a short amount of time, they were the only two stores sharing the market in the Border City as a shortage of product caused a freeze on licenses.
Zweirs believes the stigma surrounding recreational cannabis isn’t gone but is slowly dissipating.
“People are a lot more open to it. I would say if you were to look back at this in five years, I don’t think it’s going to be any different then drinking alcoholic beverages.”
Currently, Lloydminster has five cannabis retailers on the Alberta side, with two shops on the Saskatchewan side after winning the permit lottery.
Zweirs says business started off with a bang but found it tampered off once other stores opened. He believes due to product and customer base, stores might not last if they aren’t owned by largely funded companies.
“To be completely honest, you would see some stores closing within a year if they weren’t tied into three to five years leases in some of the spots that they’re in.”
According to the Statistics Canada Q2 National Cannabis Survey, 20 per cent of Albertan residents over the age of 15 admit to using cannabis at least once over the last three months. The report put Alberta ahead of more than half the country, while Saskatchewan was closer to the bottom with 15 per cent.
One year after cannabis was legalized across the country, it was announced three new products have been green-lit including regulated cannabis edibles. Residents won’t see the products on the shelves till around mid-December.