Cannabis is now legal in Canada, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that setting up a cannabis retail store is suddenly easy. Because of extremely strict government regulations, Canada is actually among the most difficult jurisdictions in the world to open up a dispensary. If you’re looking to set up a cannabis shop, doing it alone can be a daunting task.
But tough regulations shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your dream of breaking into the lucrative cannabis industry. Statistics Canada estimates that in the last three months of 2018 alone, Canadians will spend more than $1 billion on cannabis. The help of a cannabis consultant can take the guesswork out of setting up a cannabis retail operation and have your business up and running faster. Take a look at how cannabis consulting services can help you.
Retail Cannabis Licensing Is More Complicated than You might Think
Legal cannabis is a brand new industry and the government has introduced strict regulations to limit its production and distribution. Regulations concerning cannabis cover a wide range of issues, including marketing, tax compliance, packaging, employee training, security, record keeping, zoning, commercial leasing, and much more. To make matters even more complicated, federal, provincial, and local governments each have their own rules you must follow. Furthermore, there are other restrictions depending on whether you plan on producing cannabis or if you are exclusively selling it.
Assuming that inadvertently violating these new rules will only result in a small fine or warning is also a mistake. Penalties are severe, including large fines and, in some cases, jail time. For example, selling cannabis through a self-service display could land you a $5 million fine or up to 3 years in jail. Selling to youth could lead to a maximum of 14 years in jail. You need to take these rules very seriously. A cannabis consultant can help you be in full compliance with the law.
Even With a License, Your Cannabis Store Will Have to Clear More Hurdles
Just because you have successfully applied for your cannabis retailer’s licence doesn’t mean you can start selling product right away. You will still have to abide by more strict rules when it comes to choosing a site for your cannabis retail store and how you set it up. For example, most provinces and localities place restrictions on how far dispensaries need to be from schools, universities and other places where young people may congregate.
When you are ready to hire your first sales staff, you’ll need to make sure they are properly trained in possession limits, age restrictions, and what health and safety claims they can and cannot make regarding certain strains. You’ll also need to comply with rules concerning how your products are displayed and promoted. The sheer number of steps can be overwhelming for most business owners, but a cannabis retail consulting service can help guide you through them.
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