Timmins is a city of about 40,000 people in Northern Ontario. This week, its first cannabis store opened. No big deal, there are stores opening every day these days, especially in Ontario. But consider this.
Timmins is basically a day trip from the nearest shopping town, North Bay or Sudbury. Once you are in Timmins, you ain’t going anywhere without some real purpose.
So here we are, nearly 20 months into legalisation of cannabis in Canada. A mid-size city’s citizenry is finally able to legally purchase, in a face-to-face encounter with a budtending customer service expert (OK, maybe through plexiglass in COVID-times), some cannabis.
And what do you know?! On day one of operations, $45000 of sales from that one store, according to Bloomberg. Over 100 order filled in the first 2 hours of operations, according to Timmins Today .
It is a truly remarkable shift in the life of a community, where people will have grown up a) smoking weed; b) buying weed from a dealer; c) managing their cannabis supply, purchasing, consumption; d) delineating what cannabis means among their friends, co-workers, family members.
(And they did – I have family there.)
Suddenly, everything changes – it is a normal commercial, purchasing and consumption activity. “I’m just going to the shops…”
Yet, it took those 20 months to normalise it. Twenty months. And herein is the industry’s issue; Canada’s issue as the global HQ of legal cannabis. Such a slow build out creates friction and inertia. Most LPs are struggling, partially because of this lethargic response to the new (yes, and because of stupendously overblown visions of corporate growth).
Canada might soon be behind countries like Malta and Israel and Luxembourg, who are watching closely, and may be able to trigger a 0-100 growth trajectory for their own legal cannabis businesses and industries.
Timmins was once the global HQ of gold production – the richest city in North America. People and capital and riches poured into the city from around the world as workers, entrepreneurs, self-improvers saw an opportunity, and acted immediately. In time, it was surpassed, by other, more nimble, lower cost production environments, such that the Shania Twain Museum was the only hot spot in town for a while.
In 10 years time, when reflecting on the Canadian cannabis industry’s journey, I hope we don’t start humming Shania…
Oh, oh, you think you’re special
Oh, oh, you think you’re something else
Okay, so you’re a rocket scientist
That don’t impress me much…
This Much We Know.