Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Bill 80 is coming and it's bringing some fantastic changes to how you can buy cannabis in Alberta.
Previously, you could only legally order weed online through the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis websites which provided a massive block in what a private retailer could achieve. Before we dive into what this means for both consumers and retailers, I would like to highlight some of the challenges that private dispensaries face.
First off is the black market which still makes up a massive chunk of the cannabis market. To compete, marijuana growers must produce a higher quality product and retailers must stock a wider variety of products, from bud to oils to concentrates and so on. There is a very real battle over pricing and quality and the crux of the issue is trust and comfort. Retailers must contend with the dealer somebody has been using for years before legalization.
The second is the government. With legal online sales being purely in government hands, a severe cap was put on dispensaries. The changes in Bill 80 will allow a dispensary to reach beyond its local foot traffic which is a huge boon to any business. It would have been fantastic if dispensaries had been able to do the Order Online, Pick Up In Store model during the stricter pandemic lockdowns. Either way, this bill shifts money back towards our local businesses.
The third is advertising and we hope that will be changing in the future as well. There are heavy restrictions on how a business can advertise and for businesses like Lakewood Cannabis, that means working within a rigid framework to stand out amongst a lot of competing dispensaries. It is difficult to say "we are open, we are professional, and we are a local business who deserves your patronage"
At its core though, Bill 80 is a massive boon to local dispensaries. More options for how you get your cannabis, more revenue going towards local businesses, more opportunity and jobs available for your fellow Albertans. Especially with the frigid months dropping like a hammer, I'll be having my bud sent straight to my door.
Here is a link if you'd like to read about all the changes being made in Alberta: