The head of Canada’s largest cannabis producer is not concerned about the competition that could come with privatizing Ontario’s recreational pot sales.
“This weekend, the single biggest topic in our country will be: ‘Hey, man. I think I should open up a cannabis store in Ontario,’” Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Friday.
“And, I think those aspirational goals are important, but if the province – any province or any government – is buying something, if they’re committing to a service, aspiration is important, but they also looking for expertise.”
Industry sources told BNN Bloomberg on Friday that Doug Ford’s government will soon announce its plan to pivot to a private model for retail pot sales in Ontario. The news was earlier reported by The Globe and Mail.
Linton says that wanting to enter the competition for Ontario’s sales does not equal the ability to win the right to do so.
“I really think it’d be cool to make, say, I don’t know, airplane engines,” Linton mused. “I have no knowledge of how to do that, but if there was a tender and I said: ‘Could you pick me?’ my chances would be low.”
“I think as a well-structured cannabis operation, the reason we continue to be awarded these sites is we’ve earned some competency over six years running these things.”
Canopy has won delivery or sales contracts in Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with Linton adding “we think we’re in the final group for Alberta’s stores.” He believes the infrastructure the company has put in place to operate in those provinces can only improve its odds of entering Ontario’s retail market.
“When you think about what we’re actually doing is we make sure we have a space,” Linton said. “Everything else is installation.”
“That means we have a security protocol that we’ve worked through for all these locations and I think it’s just [implementing] it if we were awarded in Ontario.”
At the end of the day, Linton believes the change won’t be all that drastic.
“When we live in Ontario, it seems like a big new thing,” he said. “But, when you live in Canada, when you look at what Alberta is doing, I think it’s going to be very similar to that.”