Edmonton-based cannabis retailer Fire and Flower has begun planning a vast expansion into B.C. to follow the federal regulation decision next month.
Fire and Flower plans to set up 35 B.C.-based retailers with one location in Vernon.
Vice President of Government and Stakeholder Relations Nathan Mison visited Vernon today to meet with the municipality. He says the goal is to make sure that the company understand the goals of each individual community.
“I think it’s really important not to push municipalities further than what they want to achieve,” says Mison. “We want to be a good neighbour and a steward of the environment [each retailer] lives in.”
According to the government of Canada, Canadians continue to use cannabis at some of the highest rates in the world. Though, despite its legalization, illegal vendors will likely continue to exist.
“B.C. is going to be a special case just because of the prevalence of cannabis,” says Mison. “But that’s where the’s an opportunity to take incredibly crafted cannabis that has been grown by B.C. micro-cultivators for decades and give it an opportunity to be consumed by the rest of Canada in a legalized manner.”
Bill C-45, the act to amend the Controlled Drug and Substances act regarding cannabis is currently before Senate. The results will be released no later than June 7. After passing through Senate, provinces and territories will likely need about three months to transition their provincial regulations to accommodate these specifications.
Fire and Flower is proactive, cultivating relationships throughout the province in the hopes to expand as quickly as possible and employ hundreds of British Columbians, Mison said.
“That’s why we’re going to meet with the municipality today and see what they’re going to do in terms of zoning,” says Mison. “We set very stringent requirements in terms of separation from schools, community centres, as well as other potential cannabis retails and that has allowed us to be very successful in being able to identify locations that fit our need but also that fit that of the municipality.”
Mison says he is excited to get some clarity from the B.C. government and begin the expansion, though he doesn’t think this will be a timely process. Conservatively, he approximates store openings for mid-December.