Cannabis stores need to be conveniently located in places that adults frequent. While many municipalities enforce a minimum distance that stores must be from schools and parks, making that distance too large will prevent many stores from being able to operate in commercial areas. Many municipalities want cannabis stores to be 150 m. to 300 m. away from schools or parks. Stores will also need to have convenient open hours so that customers are able to purchase cannabis as soon as they feel they need it. The black market will continue to exist if stores are not open at convenient times and in convenient locations throughout the city.
Make sure the pricing is competitive
You do not get charged tax (let alone an excise tax in addition to HST) when you are purchasing cannabis from the black market (which also means you don't benefit from the taxes collected, either). Retailer pricing will match or beat the Ontario Cannabis Store (although shops must adhere to a minimum pricing agreement). The black market will continue to exist if dealers or illegal dispensaries are able to undercut pricing (and not pay taxes).
Make sure quality and variety is good
While individual retailers will be purchasing their cannabis from the Ontario Cannabis Store, the retailers will be able to choose which cannabis they stock in their stores. With more Licensed Producers and Craft Producers coming online, shop owners will have a large catalog of access to different varieties.
The black market will continue to exist if a wide array of high quality cannabis and cannabis products are not available.
Make sure the shopping experience is comfortable
Black market dealers are willing to come to you (either in person or by delivery). Shop owners need to have a customer-first approach when they are building their stores. These stores will need to be attractive and well-maintained with high standards in appearance, cleanliness and overall merchandising. The black market will continue to exist if we are unable to provide a comfortable and adult shopping experience.
Make sure the staff is knowledgeable and qualified
Our city is already home to many shops that have staff that already understand cannabis and cannabis accessories. Additionally, the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario will also require that any owners or managers are certified to sell cannabis and accessories (after having passed a knowledge test and obtained a certificate). The black market will continue to exist if we don't focus on staff training and development.
Opting out of legal cannabis sales is opting into illegal cannabis sales.