‘The business of retail liquor and cannabis are starkly different’ is the latest lesson learned by the Liquor Stores North America. Before the eye-opening lesson, two years ago, the company even changed its name to Alcanna, which is a fusion name of alcohol and cannabis. At that point in time, bringing the two together in business seemed like a sensible move as Cannabis was also getting regulated in the country. The president of ‘Nova Cannabis’ (which is the retail cannabis subsidiary of Alcanna)- Marcie Kiziak, said-
There are some pretty good lessons that we learned. […] We thought we knew what we were walking into, but we didn’t.
Looking at the brighter side, Alcanna’s going into the legal cannabis market reaped one advantage, though. The size of the company, its retail experience, management skills, resources; all of this allowed Alcanna to set up the Cannabis stores in the correct manner. For instance, the platform could hire skilled managers from within their company to support its 23 cannabis stores. Following the theme, Kisiak shared:
We built ourselves a workforce of trainers, which is a fantastic thing to do because it is much cheaper than having to hire trainers.
But the perceived notion that both the industries business would be similar to handle was a mistake. Through experience, the company, which is based in Alberta, found out the following differences between the two businesses. On this matter, Mike McKee of Muse Cannabis stores in Vancouver had the following talked about the following differences:
|Alcohol business||Cannabis business|
|Customers are pretty clear on what they need when it comes to alcohol stores and are freely allowed to pick up their desired alcohol.||Whereas, in the cannabis business, they are not even allowed to touch any product.|
|Staff in the liquor business is comparatively relaxed and there is an easy interaction between staff, customer and products.||Staff is very much responsible for things like answering the queries of the customers, handing out the product after verification, they are more committed to maintaining the products in a strictly regulated manner, etc.|
He further added that the hiring of the staff for the liquor business is getting more difficult in comparison to that of cannabis, currently.
Another difference which renders the two business apart is the black cannabis market. This includes the online cannabis black market. Another issue it faces is illicit practices, which have become its competition. The BC has recorded the lowest legal cannabis sales per capita, reports reveal, due to the low quality, cheaper rates, loyalty of the customers for the black market. On this matter, Harrison Stoker of Hobo Cannabis in BC said:
That is probably our number one challenge here in Vancouver specifically.
The venturing of a reputed liquor brand into the cannabis industry and then realizing some very crucial lessons reveal how new the industry is for both the businesses as well as for the customer. Looking at the situation, it, therefore, becomes all the more crucial for the government to handle the regulation of cannabis in the country with all the more security. Right now, the industry needs a supporting hand from the experts and a simultaneous evaluation to steer it in the right direction before it starts to get up and start running smoothly.