The Société Québécoise Du Cannabis (SQDC) is looking to open 56 new cannabis stores between 2020 and 2023, bringing the number to 89. Some 20 are expected to open by March 2020.
If Quebec legislators are cautious on the subject of cannabis, prohibiting self-cultivation and then raising the minimum age to 21 years, Quebecers are less so. The SQDC recorded 4 million transactions in the first year, or 2 sales per minute, and 27 tons of cannabis, despite numerous shortages at launch and sparse access in the province.
On average, Quebecers are located 35 kilometers from one of the 18 SQDC branches that are open. Online sales also account for only 7% of its sales, a share that tends to decline as more and more stores open or expand their hours.
The province is also seeking to develop home delivery of cannabis, in order to combat the black market, which did not wait for the legalization of cannabis to develop in this niche.
Until now, Quebecers have favored buying in shops, precisely after the black market which attracts the bulk of consumers. The ban on cannabis-infused candy and cakes in Quebec should not help the province to nibble away at the illegal market.
The addition of new shops will nevertheless make it possible to cover some empty areas, where the lack of accessibility to cannabis mechanically drives people to the black market. Montreal is expected to add 15 new stores, Monteregie 8, Québec City and Laval 5 each, and Outaouais 4. The remaining 19 branches are spread over the rest of the territory.