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Canada's Independent Cannabis Retailers

Posted by Emma Baron on


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Song of the Week - Respect by Aretha Franklin

Originally written and performed by Otis Redding, we all know this it's really Aretha who owns this song. Otis himself acknowledged it, after he heard Aretha perform it for the first time: ""This girl has taken that song from me. Ain't no longer my song. From now on, it belongs to her." That's 
The Long Form - A Majestic Canadian Cannabis Retail Experience.

We're now halfway through our August road trip, and just in case you weren't sure, we're here to tell you we've witnessed it - Canada is majestic AF. From hiking Lake Moraine, to picking saskatoon berries, to hunting dinos in the badlands and  swimming in a few of Ontario's 250,000 lakes, we've been having a blast exploring the best views and best cannabis retail options across the prairies

There are a couple reasons an Ontarian might want to explore cannabis retail outside our province. Firstly, not every licensed producer is stocked in Ontario, so there are new brands to try like Delta 9, Tantalus Labs,  and Starseed, among others. Secondly,  there's as much canna-swag as your heart could desire, available right at the store for purchase. Want a Tweed outfit for every day of the week? You can easily buy it at their store in Osborne Village. Most importantly, there's a diversity of retail experiences. Want a quick, in-and-out, fast-food experience - you can have it. Want a local, mom-n-pop joint where you know your budtender by name? You can have that too. 

To 'eat, sleep, and breathe' your work takes on new meaning when you're the owner of an independent cannabis retail store. Ryan Roch is an absolute authority when it comes to the strains he has stocked at Lake City Cannabis.  He's tried them all and he's not afraid to tell you what he thinks - two very important qualities in a salesperson! A cannabis connoisseur and customer-centric guy, Ryan is known as the 'Freddy Mercury of Cannabis' on Twitter, and started building his brand long before he received his retail sales license. The hustle is real with this guy.


The hard work and patience has paid off - Lake City Cannabis is easily the most beautiful cannabis retail shop we visited on our tour. From the unparalleled, most-Canadian-ever, lakefront property that services float planes, boats, and really any form of transportation, to the warm and friendly service from Ryan himself, he's going to be hard to beat. The inside of the shop features beautiful wood showcases with locally made accessories, alongside the cannabis.

A big part of what we loved about Lake City is a simple thing - there's no secret storage room where the employees disappear behind the curtain - you can continue your conversation with Ryan as he reaches into the locked drawers underneath the central display cabinets. It's a small difference, but it makes your purchase feel so much more like a regular shopping experience, rather than an act of secrecy and security. 

It's safe to say we're completely jealous Ontarians. We're really looking forward to the second wave of cannabis retail - and hoping that we'll start to see a diversity of stores in our communities. It's no secret that we're champions of buying local, and we'd love to have that kind of cannabis shopping experience in our own province. Out with the glossy, corporate weed experience, in with the local flavour and personality!
The News

Speaking of independent cannabis retailers, Thomas H. Clarke, who has been in the cannabis industry since before it was legal, is struggling to make ends meet with the 8% profit margin mandated by the province of Newfoundland. Considering stores can only sell cannabis, no paraphernalia or swag, it's difficult for smaller stores to cover their costs.
The Social Calendar

It's fall fair season! Sorry, I know you're not ready.
Back to Ontar-iar-iar-io.

- Emma & Carol
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