Alberta's New Cannabis Retail Frontier: Festivals and Trade Shows Open Up Shop

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Alberta's New Cannabis Retail Frontier: Festivals and Trade Shows Open Up Shop

Albertans can soon anticipate cannabis retailers setting up shop at various festivals and trade shows, sans the need for interviews. Starting January 31, licensed cannabis vendors will have the green light to operate pop-up stores at adult-only events.

This change has been warmly received by the industry. It's being touted as a strategy to bolster brand presence, cater to customers' needs, and chip away at the market share currently held by unlicensed dispensaries and dealers.

Beena Goldenberg, CEO of Organigram Holdings Inc., a cannabis producer based in Moncton, N.B., hailed this move as a significant leap forward in cutting bureaucratic red tape and streamlining operations. She emphasized that these improvements could foster a more competitive legal cannabis market, potentially dissuading participation in the illicit market.

Goldenberg highlighted the opportunity for retailers to expand their brand outreach beyond conventional retail settings, further aiding the conversion from illicit to legal markets.

Statistics Canada's October report revealed that over 70% of Canada's cannabis consumption value in the first half of 2023 stemmed from legal sources, a marked rise from the 22% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018 during legalization.

Despite this progress, numerous cannabis companies remain concerned about the persisting strength of the illicit sector. Over the past five years since legalization, they've resorted to slashing prices to compete, both amongst themselves and with the illegal market.

To address these concerns and to continually support legitimate businesses while safeguarding Albertans' interests, the province has been actively reviewing cannabis market regulations.

This ongoing review led to various changes, such as allowing pot shops to commence operations at 9 a.m., reducing specific fees related to listing and shipping, and authorizing representatives from cannabis companies to offer product samples to stores for promotional purposes and enhanced product knowledge.

Dale Nally, minister of Service Alberta and red tape reduction, highlighted the province's commitment to assessing what's effective, what requires enhancement, and what regulations may be excessive or redundant—all while upholding public health and safety.

Nally stated, "These changes are the result of our latest work to help curb the illegal cannabis industry and continue providing choices Albertans can trust."

Beyond permitting cannabis sales at events, Alberta is set to enable retailers to keep their products in secured display cases after business hours, eliminating the need to transfer all merchandise into a locked storage area daily.

Moreover, the province plans to ease restrictions on sales and transfers among cannabis retailers, empowering Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis to establish resale markup limits.

source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-to-allow-cannabis-sales-at-adults-only-events-1.7064117

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