About Alberta’s Top Choice for Cannabis Products
A bright yellow storefront dangles over a busy intersection in downtown Edmonton, welcoming customers with a simple sign that reads “FIRE AND FLOW.” Inside, the shop’s interior is sleek and organized. Customers can choose from a variety of pre-rolled joints, tinctures and edibles and a small collection of glassware and other accessories. The store regularly serves the people who live, work and visit downtown, says Isaac Watson, Fire and Flower’s vice president of operations. Read more taleoftwostrains.cc/online-dispensary-alberta
While the Canadian federal government has set a legal age of purchase at 18, provincial governments have set their own guidelines for retail sales and consumption, which differ between jurisdictions. For example, the City of Edmonton has banned cannabis stores within 150 metres of schools and places of worship. It has also created “cannabis consumption areas,” which are similar to beer gardens and open to anyone over the age of 18. In addition, driving while high on cannabis carries the same penalties as being intoxicated by alcohol.
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But even with these changes, the industry is still a risky proposition, explains Ashley Newman, whose Queen of Bud chain of retail stores went out of business in 2021 as she saw the writing on the wall for the weed sector. She’s now licenced to cultivate weed at Candre Cannabis in Sundre, producing about 11,000 kg of product per year.
Nationally, only about 20 per cent of licensed producers are cash flow positive. That’s due in part to higher levies and taxes, said Smitherman of CCC. But he’s encouraged that the provincial government is open to suggestions to reduce unnecessary red tape for retailers and producers, such as allowing them to cut out the AGLC middleman and buy directly from the LPs, which would lower prices for consumers.