Size Matters: Are large chains ruining the local cannabis landscape in Calgary?

calgary cannabis

If you were part of the legacy cannabis market for any amount of time, you would remember your dealer. The plug you most commonly picked up from. They would tell you what they had, tell you a little bit about each. You would have a good look, and Then you choose the one you liked.

This is what I was hoping to see in the legal cannabis market locally in Calgary (Alberta, Canada); a plethora of mom and pop shops that are there to help educate and push the cannabis culture. Unfortunately, when you look around, all you see, is a Canna Cabana, a Value Buds or any other number of chains. Fleeting are the small shops that are there to help. They are quickly being replaced by corporate greed, and a battle for the bottom.

There are far too many small cannabis shops in Calgary alone that have gone out of business, replaced now with some corporate entity. It is really sad to see, and as a consumer it should be very scary to see. When corporate greed is all that is left, quality will no longer be a concern, costs will no longer be a concern . Merely the bottom line.

The only people who are going to suffer from that, will be us, the consumer. We see this in every industry. The difference now, is that cannabis the cannabis industry is in such a fledgeling state, that as a consumer, if we collectively put our foot down now, and say “quality over consumption”. We would have a chance to make some real changes. If we don’t, Cannabis will be reduced to another industry built on shareholder greed, and corporate fiscal projections.

When a large producer like Canopy Growth announce that they are pulling themselves out of the retail cannabis market. Electing to invest more in the growing side of the industry. “while furthering the Company’s strategy of investing in product innovation and distribution to drive revenue growth in the Canadian recreational market.” David Klein, CEO, Canopy Growth.

Corporate takeovers of chains like Spirit Leaf, a company that actually cares about quality, by large conglomerates like Value Buds is another giant warning sign.
“Locally-owned pot retailers are also faced with the continued expansion of larger companies, which are slashing prices to a level that’s out of reach and occasionally buying up established local shops. Some owners have called for a temporary moratorium on new licences or regulations similar to B.C., where there is a limit on how many licences any one company can hold.”

The industry is being shaped in front of our faces, in a way I never wanted to see it go. All the years of legacy growers putting their livelihood, and freedom on the line to push boundaries and work on new strains will be lost. We will be subject to large companies, pushing out the cheapest, highest THC, high-yielding garbage they can find.