Lobdraws: Newfoundland Goes Dro Fresh With First List of Cannabis Retailers

Crumpled Atlantic Canadian headlines and news clippings fetched from our waste bins and neatly delivered in the Secret East #Newsbag…

Well, I guess the age old advice of “never go grocery shopping while high” has gone up in a cloud of smoke.

A list of 24 successful applicants getting the green light to retail legal weed in Newfoundland & Labrador was released this week by Cannabis NL.

Of the 24 announced retailers, 10 of the licences have been obtained by Loblaw Companies Limited, the supermarket chain which operates all Dominion branded stores across the province.

As with all of the early stage announcements for marijuana legislation in the province thus far, the revealed list has garnered just as many huffs as puffs.

Cannabis NL was launched in February by the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation, the governing body appointed of overseeing the licensing and regulation of legal weed.

In addition to the NLC’s Cannabis NL operating the sole source for legal online pot shopping, the NLC will literally be standing alongside the first slew of approved retailers as 10 of the Loblaw locations getting a dispensary are also attached to an NLC Liquor Store.

Vaughn Hammond, the director of provincial affairs in Newfoundland and Labrador for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, told the CBC that “the list shows the legal marijuana industry will be run largely by the provincial government and big business.”

In the same conversation with CBC, Hammond also called the licensing a “missed opportunity” for small businesses, and stated that the structure”more or less made it difficult for small business owners to even come up with an operation that could even meet their requirements and criteria”.

Some of the “Tier One” dispensaries approved to sling bud in smaller, standalone stores are even pondering the disadvantages of splitting the market with such a business giant as Loblaw, especially with the alarmingly small 8% commission the NLC has proposed to pay retailers.

With no concrete timeline provided, the public is left guessing how close we actually are to marijuana legalization.

As the legislation buds, so does its scrutiny.

We’ll leave the hard questions to the other news outlets and take on the real pressing #newsbag speculation:

What will a Loblaw dispensary look like?

Will it resemble a new produce section with a different selection of fresh herbs and spices? Will we have self-serve hand scoops and scales in the aisle to weigh our own goods? What about self checkouts? Are we going to get Dro Fresh branded sativa strains and President’s Choice kush? When edibles finally come into the legal equation, can we expect some Decadent hash cookies?

Probably not.

There is only one thing that can be certain, the Loblaw dispensaries could end up with a missed opportunity of their own if they fail to recognize one painfully obvious marketing detail:

A chip rack by the checkout.

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