Licensed producers of cannabis in Ontario will be able to sell directly to consumers at their cultivation facilities, paving the way for the creation of tailored customer experiences and new ways to approach branding.
Ontario’s Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act was introduced into the Legislature just in time for October 17th’s legalization date. Licensed producers have lobbied provincial governments to allow “farm-gate” sales for nearly a year.
To date, the only licensed producer with permission to open a retail store within a production site is Canopy Growth at its Newfoundland location.
Industry experts forecast that allowing such sales will give producers some room to manoeuvre in branding their product, which is especially important in an industry that has harsh restrictions dictating how something may be marketed.
The new ruling mirrors how beer or wine may be sold. Customers can currently visit a brewery or winery to learn how products are created, and purchase some to enjoy afterwards.
Producers have been vocal for the need for a similar experience to purchase cannabis, citing analogies in certain aspects such as flavour profiles.
Although the new ruling gives more freedom to licensed producers, they will still be restricted to a single retail outlet, even if it is at one of their production facilities.
How has Ontario’s legislation changed?
It is the latest plot twist in Ontario’s run up to legalization. Plans for complete ownership by the province’s liquor control board were scrapped in June, when Premier Doug Ford cast aside the previous Liberal government’s retail framework.
At the end of September, the game changed dramatically yet again; Premier Ford’s government announced that the rules of smoking cannabis would align with tobacco’s, meaning that it would be allowed in public spaces.
The provincial government also recently announced that there would be no cap on the number of licenses handed out.