Canada is getting ready for nationwide cannabis legalization, which is supposed to happen later this summer. Now that legal weed is on the immediate horizon, many businesses are taking steps to get into the game. Most recently, with a major coffee chain teaming up with cannabis company National Access Corp. (NAC), many Canadian businesspeople are exploring all sorts of unexpected partnerships.
Second Cup Coffee Gets Into Cannabis Game
Recently, NAC and Second Cup Coffee published a press release announcing a new partnership. Under the arrangement, a series of Second Cup storefronts will be transformed into NAC-branded recreational cannabis dispensaries.
Second Cup is one of Canada’s biggest coffee chains. The company was founded in 1975 and currently has 286 stores throughout the country. NAC has so far focused on providing medical marijuana to patients. The company currently operates nine store locations throughout seven provinces.
Under the new partnership, the companies plan to apply for licenses to sell legal weed. From there, the idea is to use Second Cup’s already-established real estate holdings to quickly build a chain of recreational dispensaries.
“With exceptional quality real estate located across Canada, our alliance with Second Cup will offer consumers access to quality cannabis products and the superior service in the comfortable setting they’ve come to expect from NAC,” said CEO of NAC Mark Golinger. “This relationship allows us to quickly expand our footprint in proven high-traffic retail locations across Canada.”
Currently, Canada plans to roll out national legalization at some point late this summer. But even after it’s legal, provinces will still have the ability to define key aspects of how weed businesses will operate.
As CBC News reported, many provinces have already said they prefer using state-controlled monopolies to produce and sell marijuana. In those locations, NAC and Second Cup would presumably not be able to sell weed.
But in other provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba, private weed businesses will probably be allowed. These locations could be prime targets for the new NAC-Second Cup partnership.
Final Hit: Major Coffee Chain Teaming Up With Cannabis Company
According to the companies’ press release, NAC and Second Cup plan to focus first on establishing “dispensaries initially across Western Canada, expanding to include additional provinces where legally permissible.”
At this point, it’s unclear if the companies have set any concrete dates on which they plan to open dispensaries. But obviously, it won’t be until Canada officially legalizes recreational marijuana.
The process of national legalization has been in the works for at least several years. And it’s been a bit of an up and down road. After some setbacks at the end of last year, lawmakers projected that legal weed would be up and running no later than July. More recently, lawmakers have changed that projection to the end of September.
In an interview last month, Minister of Public Safety Mark Holland said: “We’re working closely with the Senate and we feel confident, at this time, in that timeline of end of summer that we’re going to see a regime that will control and legalize cannabis.”