When cannabis becomes legal in Canada later this year, consumers in Ontario will only be in a unique position of only being able to legally purchase through the Ontario Government. Unlike the U.S and even other provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia, Ontario has decided to get deep into the cannabis business by becoming the sole distributor of cannabis via 40 government-run shops and an online store. The government-ran stores are expected to increase to 150 by the year 2020.
Shopify Inc., the Canadian based online sales platform have been chosen to run the cannabis e-commerce sales portal as well as manage inventory, accounting and human resources for the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC). Shopify will also power transactions in brick-and-mortar stores via iPads with additional product and health information.
Who Should Care About This?
Mostly anyone associated with the currently booming, multi-billion dollar cannabis tech industry. These tech companies have been developing dispensary specific software solutions and battling it out for market share anywhere that allows medical or recreational sales.
The fact that a major incumbent like Shopify can just walk into a lucrative mega-deal should have a lot of cannabis specific businesses on edge. The hesitation from established companies to wander into the industry might be wearing off and competition in all areas could become more fierce as legalization takes hold.