Couche-Tard comes out swinging
In an interesting follow up to Cannabis Wheaton’s (CBW.V) partnership with a nationwide retail convenience chain, I found this Radio-Canada piece. where the CEO of Couche-Tard (TSE: ATD.B) (who owns multiple brands such as Mac’s) unloads on the Quebec Government’s attitude on cannabis.
He says in part: “I’m Insulted. Very insulted because after 40 years working in this kind of business in Canada, the U.S. and around the world, and I’m being told we can’t sell this product responsibly, I find it very insulting” (Translation mine).
The piece outlines Couche-Tard’s lobbying efforts and the CEO’s frustration at a lack of discussion with the Quebec government.
So I can’t be sure, but it seems like if we look at the CEO’s attitude about selling weed, and the fact that one month later there’s a major partnership between an big player and an ‘unnamed’ retail chain – well, I can make some educated guesses.
The battle for distribution of legal cannabis has high-stakes and the big players continue to roll out their strategy to grab their piece of the pie.
Consultant gold rush in Quebec
With the Quebec Government’s long and storied tradition of bureaucracy and oversight, an industry has sprung up helping companies and entrepreneurs navigate the compliance, risk management, and financing in this area.
Big players like Fasken-Martineau are creating ‘Cannabis Committees’ with subject-matter-experts in different areas of applicable laws to get ahead of the potential regulatory challenges the government might dream up as it sets its policy.
PriceWaterhouseCooper is also working in this space, with Rami El-Cheikh, PwC’s Director of Pharmaceutical Operations leading the project.
When the big boys start sniffing around like this it means they smell big money in the Quebec cannabis market.
Quebec update is our semi-regular review of French-language news and business intelligence, translated and summarized for your pleasure.