The worlds largest producer of legal marijuana is going up against provincial governments to build a retail weed store in Smiths Falls, Ontario.
Smiths Falls has seen its economy drastically evolve over the years. It went from the little town with an abandoned chocolate factory to Canada’s marijuana production capital, complete with gargantuan grow-op.
Like other Canadian breweries, who have obtained licenses to sell their product out of independently owned stores, Canopy Growth is now vying to open their own retail weed store. The company’s president, Mark Zekulin, says,
“It’s the most logical place in Canada to have a store.”
But they will have to go through the provincial government to achieve their goal. Ontario’s new plan for retail marijuana will not allow non-government run stores to sell any product. Each province and territory has their own strategy, but Ontario is striving for 40 government-run retail stores complete with online ordering.
Smiths Falls Backs Canopy’s Proposal
Canopy Growth is not in this fight alone as it has the full backing of the small Ontario town’s council. So far, the Smiths Falls council has contacted Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Attorney General Yasir Naqvi to arrange meetings to discuss the proposal. They also have sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne.
The mayor of Smiths Falls, Shawn Pankow, is optimistic. He says:
“My understanding is they are certainly willing to listen.”
In response, the attorney general’s office said it intends to keep an open dialogue with all stakeholders, including Canopy.
The cornerstone of the council’s argument is the trickling down of the economic benefits. They believe Canopy Growth has helped reinvigorate the local economy. The town was crushed when Hershey shut down its operations more than a decade ago, but Canopy brought jobs back to the town. A Canopy retail store will drive even more economic activity, they note.
A steady flow of tourists used to tour the local chocolate factory and Zekulin is already thinking of offering a similar tour to marijuana enthusiasts and travelers.
But Zekulin has this to say about tours at the 450,000 square-foot facility,
“Obviously it would be a different experience, but what we are doing here is just as interesting.”