Western Canada Continued
An $8 million investment by Thunderchild First Nation makes it the largest shareholder of Westleaf Cannabis, a vertically integrated company based in Calgary — meaning it will control its own production and distribution of marijuana. "The band has supported Westleaf since its inception over 12 months ago, and helped us bring the Westleaf vision to life by providing a large-scale investment during our preliminary business development phase," said Scott Hurd, president and CEO of Westleaf.
About a dozen prospective pot shop owners — some camped out since last week — lined up at city hall in Red Deer Tuesday morning to apply for a retail cannabis sales licence.
Alternatives and Options Vaporizers and E-Liquids and Ltd. have been busy over the past couple of weeks getting their second store open for the beginning of August in St. Albert. Thomas and Marjorie Kirsop started the Morinville store on 100 Street more than two years ago and have grown sufficiently to branch out to an even larger market. “It’s time for me to come home from my job up north. That was the trigger,” explained owner Thomas Kirsop, adding that he has worked in the oil industry as an operator for 25 years, the last 13 flying in and out of the job site. “I had to be doing something, so we’re going to expand into a larger community, and with any luck with the two stores, my children don’t starve. We’re quite committed. They say most people change careers three times in their lifetime – it was time for my first one.”
When Albertans walk into a retail cannabis store on Oct. 17, they'll be able to choose from a selection of about 300 products from 13 different licensed producers. But for the more experienced cannabis user, the experience might be a bit like walking into a liquor store and choosing between Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue. But Lana Syms, a self-employed retail consultant in the medical cannabis industry, said consumers won't yet have access to the really good stuff. "On the level of the street, so to speak, licensed producer weed is still mocked. From the 420 culture as a whole, nobody thinks LPs are growing good weed," Syms said. "The people that will buy that weed are people that are naive and don't know any better, but they'll become educated as time goes and then they'll begin to look for better sources of material than what the legal system will provide."