A Canadian company says it will sell cannabis in convenience stores. But before you dig out your passport and book a flight or a seat on Megabus, let’s examine the facts.
Canada, Cannabis and Consumerism
Cannabis Wheaton has a solid business idea. There’s only one problem: it’s currently illegal.
There are places where cannabis enjoys solid establishment support. But the day when customers can buy marijuana in stores alongside other quotidian consumer goods, like stationery, soft drinks and cigarettes, is still somewhere far off into an undefined but absolutely still-distant future.
Take Canada for example. Nowhere in North America does marijuana enjoy more mainstream support than north of the 49th parallel.
Canadian patients can obtain medical marijuana from companies carrying official licenses from the country’s health authority. And recreational marijuana will be available to all adults sometime next summer. A legalization plan carried by the competent and qualified world leader Justin Trudeau’s government will go into effect then.
But as far as consumer models go, there’s only one—and for the consumer, there isn’t much in the way choice.
There’s only one way to legally buy medical marijuana in Canada, and that’s directly from one of the 67 companies licensed by Health Canada to produce and distribute the magic plant.
And once recreational cannabis is bought and sold under the warming glow of Trudeau’s smiling face next summer, it’ll be at stores operated by the government. (Those dispensaries openly selling cannabis commercially now in most of Canada’s major cities, in very civil and polite defiance of the authorities, notwithstanding.)
Whatever happened to private enterprise? Wouldn’t it be better if you could browse weed in the same aisles as toothpaste and deodorant—like at a pharmacy?
Cannabis Wheaton certainly thinks so.
The Vancouver, British Columbia-based “cannabis streaming company” (a term borrowed from the precious-metals industry, where investors strike a deal to purchase assets from a producer at some fixed price) recently issued a series of press releases in which it announced a marijuana-distribution deal with a pharmacy chain.
Under the deal, Cannabis Wheaton will use the assets of an unnamed pharmacy chain with 350 locations across the country to sell cannabis—an attractive prospect for the company, since pharmacies already sell products that require age verification, like tobacco and alcohol.
In return, the pharmacy chain, which was not identified by name, will receive… the option to purchase stock in Cannabis Wheaton.
If all this sounds vague and perhaps vaguely shady to you, congratulations on your perspicacity —because it is!
Cannabis currently can’t be sold at a pharmacy in Canada, and as investor-news network BNN noted, there are no plans in the works that would allow pharmacies to sell pot.
For now, the deal amounts to very little aside from a good idea—like a high-tech catapult slinging passengers and freight from San Francisco to Los Angeles—and, more importantly, good press on Cannabis Wheaton’s part.
Final Hit: Canadian Company Says It Will Sell Cannabis in Convenience Stores
Cannabis Wheaton is a young company with a business plan still mostly in the idea phase.
That said, they have already entered Canada’s TSX exchange. Owners in stocks like these look for the slightest market movement to make trades (and hopefully some money). And sure enough, not long after Cannabis Wheaton made its plans public, stock prices jumped about five percent.
So what to make of this? Very, very little.
It’s a fine notion, the idea that the Canadian company says it will sell cannabis in convenience stores. But without publicly identifying its partner and without its core idea enjoying legal feasibility, Cannabis Wheaton’s plan won’t survive past the dry-erase board stage. This situation is not unlike an American company announcing plans to go to the moon or build a hyperloop. At least Elon Musk actually has a rocket ship or two.