Location Data and Site Selection

How Location Data can help Cannabis Retailers with Site Selection

On October 17, 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration gave adults the right to consume marijuana for recreational purposes. This made Canada the world’s largest legal marijuana marketplace, with $54 million of marijuana being sold in the first month of legalization alone.

These numbers will only continue to grow as more and more players join this bold new business landscape. When Deloitte surveyed 5,000 Canadian adults (19 years or older), it concluded that on sales of recreational marijuana alone, the national marketplace could be worth as much as $5 billion annually. And that’s only the minimum base number. Deloitte pegs the upper threshold of the base market at almost $9 billion. And when you factor in ancillaries like tourism revenue, security, transportation, etc., the potential economic impact of recreational pot could go up to $23 billion per year.

Know Your Government

However, setting up a pot shop in Canada is not as simple as zeroing down on a storefront, applying for a licence, and flipping the ‘open’ sign. The distribution and sale of recreational marijuana, as detailed in the Cannabis Act, falls under provincial jurisdictions. Which means, instead of one common federal law governing cannabis retail, each Canadian province has the right to create a different framework of regulations for licensing retailers.

Take Alberta for example. According to the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC), a licence for retailing cannabis can only be obtained if the store is located at least 100 meters away from healthcare facilities, schools, or a school reserve. In Ontario, the minimum distance between a cannabis store and a school has been established at 150 meters.

Further, While Alberta is allowing municipalities to vary the proximity restrictions through bylaws, Ontario is giving them a one-time chance to block the sale of recreational cannabis in their jurisdictions. The stores also need to meet the local land-use and zoning requirements. Which is why, progressive sellers – who want to get it right the first time and cash in on a booming market – would want to make sure that their chosen store locations are in sync with all government guidelines.

Know Your Competition

But, even then, the rules set-up by the local governments are not the only considerations for a would-be pot retailer. With both big companies and small entrepreneurs scrambling to get a piece of thet pie, forward-looking retailers would like to be mindful of the locations of potential competition as well.

Supermarket chain Loblaws has already won the rights to sell recreational marijuana under its Shoppers Drug Mart banner in Newfoundland and Calgary.   Toronto, meanwhile, has been home to more cannabis stores than pizza places – even before recreational pot was legalized.

In Ontario, which is arguably on of the biggest markets for cannabis in Canada, private cannabis retailers will not start operations until April 1, 2019.  And if the province is to successfully take down its widespread black market for pot, around 700-1,400 legal stores would need to be established, industry insiders predict. Securing prime retail locations in Ontario is, therefore, on top of would-be sellers’ priority lists.

Know Your Location

Robust, accurate, and up-to-date location data is the backbone of any prudent retail site-selection process. DMTI Spatial’s high-precision address points empower organizations and entrepreneurs to understand the exact location of specific buildings with a few clicks. And since the dataset comes bundled with comprehensive points of interest (POI), retailers can easily create POI listings for cannabis-sensitive locations like schools and hospitals while evaluating the best sites for their stores.

The benefits of location data, however, do not stop there. DMTI’s location platform can be an excellent tool for retailers to scientifically-manage the sale of recreational cannabis. Our visualization platform allows sellers to:

  • Visualize: When stakeholders can conveniently visualize all store locations on a map, instead of having to flip through Excel sheets, it aids the process of decision-making and streamlining processes. Similarly, the store locations of competitors can also be mapped for strategic insights.
  • Analyze: Undertaking location-based analytics becomes a breeze with an online mapping portal. For example, with the help of our platform, retailers can easily create ‘no-sell’ buffer zones around schools and other prohibited locations.
  • Strategize: With increased visibility into the sales territories, retailers can improve business performance and drive new revenue streams. By attaching sales attribution to location data, retailers can track how well their stores are doing over time.

So, while it’s safe to conclude that the legalization of recreational marijuana brings very lucrative business opportunities to the table, retailers need to make sure they have a solid winning strategy in place to score in a highly-competitive market. By arming themselves with precise location data, retailers can not only understand their marketplace and target audience better, but they can also differentiate themselves from the competition and capitalize themselves sufficiently to execute on their strategy.

To learn more about how our location data and visualization platform contact us here.


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