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Legalizing cannabis may have brought small business potential, but for Airdrie cannabis retailer Grant Guenther, legal cannabis might be a financial bust.

Guenther took out a lease to open Strain Lane, a cannabis retailer in Airdrie. The only problem is he can’t get a hold of any cannabis - and the rent is due every month whether he opens his doors or not (he hasn’t yet).

The AGLC suspended the granting of new licenses a couple of months ago due to a cannabis shortage.

“My wife and I have invested everything we have into this business,” Guenther said Monday in an interview on the Calgary Eyeopener. “And still nothing. No product for the shop.”

Guenther’s economically harrowing situation is an example of jumping in early to a new industry, where the ground rules are a bit of a work-in-progress.

“You have an application process, which they start taking applications in March [2018],” he said. “And part of that application process is that you need a lease or an offer to lease. So most of the land use bylaws and these new capacities were not written yet.”

After taking out the lease, Guenther waited (and paid rent) until September, to discover whether or not the space he was renting would be municipally zoned to allow him to retail cannabis.

“What a lot of companies did was they put on massive deposits, say $20,000 or $30,000 deposits, to be able to walk away from their leases if they didn’t get approved,” he said. “In our case we don’t have that sort of funds, so we decided to dive into the shallow end here and see if we’re going to make it.”

Now, Guenther and his wife find themselves trapped in a bit of a vise, with the lease on one shoulder and the uncertainty of obtaining cannabis on the other. Part of the challenge facing Guenther is that the municipality of Airdrie, which has no business taxes, has no real incentive to facilitate the cannabis industry because there’s no money in it for them.

“I’ll go as far as I can. Until our money runs out.”

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/airdrie-cannabis-retailers-anxiously-awaiting-arrival-product-1.5052007

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