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HIGHLIGHTS
  1. Alberta Cannabis Council founded by retailers, LPs, investor
  2. ACC looks to strengthen by including ancillary representation
  3. Consistency and predictability are among pot industry’s biggest issues, ACC chair says

More than seven months into the legalization of recreational pot in Canada, the nascent industry is showing signs of maturing with the formation of a cannabis industry group in Alberta that aims to ensure growth by combating social stigma, the black market, and the provincial government’s moratorium on retail licences.

The Alberta Cannabis Council (ACC) is the second provincial marijuana lobby group to form since Canada legalized adult-use pot in October 2018, after the Quebec Cannabis Industry Association was established in April.

Cannabis retail is privatized in Alberta, where the province’s sole wholesaler and retail licence regulator – Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) – placed a semi-freeze on new store permits due to insufficient supplies. Due to complete privatization at the retail level, Alberta has by far the most licensed recreational pot stores in the country at 101.

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With five board members representing cannabis retail, production, and investment, the group is recruiting with its sights extending to ancillary businesses, such as legal teams, and technology and transportation companies that could support the sector.

“This is a developing supply chain from end to end that Canadians could lead, grow here and then scale to the world,” said Nathan Mison, chairman of ACC and executive for retail chain Fire and Flower.

“Consistency and predictability” are among the burgeoning industry’s biggest issues, he said.

“Because of the start-stop in the supply chain, it’s very difficult to find predictability. We need predictability and a regulatory framework that makes sense,” Mr. Mison said.

“The retail moratorium is the perfect example of predictability. How do you deploy capital not knowing when your store will open?”

While the cannabis supply crunch is on a national scale, the temporary halt on new retail licences in Alberta means that many small business owners have been paying rent on stores unable to open despite legalization more than seven months ago.

“We of course know supply has been a challenge but maybe there’s an opportunity for the sector to work with AGLC. I think there’s an opportunity for us to work collaboratively with the government,” Mr. Mison said.

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