Some businesses see spinoffs from cannabis legalization
The lines aren't nearly as long after five days of legal cannabis, but traffic is picking up in some businesses near the government stores where cannabis is being sold.
Coffee and cannabis may not be the first pairing that comes to mind, but one Halifax coffee shop is cashing in on the periphery of pot.
When the long lineups started outside the NSLC's stand-alone cannabis store on Clyde Street in Halifax last week, Scott MacLean smelled an opportunity.
“We figured, well, we can see them from our front steps and they can see us, so why not go over there and hand out some free coffee cards to try to drive business that busy weekend across the street?” MacLean said.
He says it worked like a charm.
“We saw about a hundred of the cards come back, and we think that it's really going to drive traffic, a lot more people down and around the streets,” he said.
At a convenience store, right down the block from the Clyde Street cannabis store, there’s a similar story.
“A lot of people are coming asking for rolling papers,” said Mostafa Khallaf.
So much so, that he sold out of them on legalization day -- and lighters, too -- so he ordered more.
“I ordered five times more than what I had, just to be sure I won't have this situation running out again,” said Khallaf.
When asked if more patrons have the munchies, Khallaf says he had to order more candy, too.
When it comes to the business impact of the legalization of cannabis, there is one business that is literally side by side with cannabis sales, liquor retail.
Eleven of the NSLC's 12 cannabis stores are in the same space as its liquor sales - and some customers don't seem to mind.
“If they want beer, they want alcohol, or they want cannabis, doesn't really matter,” said Rick Colbon.
“Doesn't bother me at all, not at all,” said Donna Kleronomos.“I bought my wine, I'm good!”
The NSLC says the legalization of cannabis hasn't altered alcohol sales.
“We haven't seen a negative trend in beverage alcohol sales since legalization on Wednesday,” said NSLC spokesperson Beverley Ware. “Of course, it's early days, so it's difficult to say if this will be true in the long term.”
There are still product shortages, something the NSLC says will be the case for a while.
Back at his coffee shop, MacLean hopes the benefits to his business will linger – now that the lineups are gone.
A spokesman for the Nova Scotia government said it had not made any projections on the potential economic spinoff of cannabis.
But here's some food for thought: the Marijuana Policy Group in Colorado has estimated that legalization in that state in 2014 has led to $2.4 billion in economic activity.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.