Medicine Hat News
Local cannabis market has levelled off after early surge
The shop swap continues in the retail cannabis market in Medicine Hat, which once had 13 licensed outlets for recreational marijuana, including two purchased by a major chain and never opened.
One switched hands this week and announced a new grand opening under a new national chain, but local retailers tell the News the once hard to fathom size of the recreational pot market has figured itself out.
One retailer told the News on Wednesday that after two years in operation and even a likely uptick during the COVID pandemic, business has been solid but lower than some of the outrageous predictions made leading up to legalization.
“We do have a lot of pot stores in Medicine Hat and that probably cuts into each store’s market share, but we’ve been solid,” said Rebekkah Liedl, a partner in Hat Cannabis on S. Railway Street.
“I don’t see another retail boom coming. But we’ve levelled out, and figured out what our customer bases are.”
Up to two dozen applications were dealt with by the city’s planning department leading up to the 2018 legalization of the once-prohibited narcotic and initial phase of regulated retail sales.
After a rush to open and get operating, plus pass strict Alberta Gaming liquor and Cannabis Commission requirements, a list of 13 approved locations eventually appeared on AGLC’s list of sanctioned retailers.
The AGLC list of licensed locations in Medicine Hat numbered 12 this week, including seven with local, independent, non-franchise owners.
On Wednesday, High-Tide Cannabis announced it had opened its 82nd shop in Canada on Third Street in Medicine Hat, apparently taking over a previously licensed shop owned by New Leaf that never opened.
Another “New Leaf” location that was supposed to open in late 2019 but apparently never did, was in a converted fast food restaurant on Trans-Canada Way.
High Tide opened its first store in Medicine Hat in early 2020 with the Kushbar-branded location in Dunmore Plaza, but that location is part of a deal announced in early 2020 to sell a block of locations in Alberta to Halo Labs.
That deal, involving five stores in total, was valued at $12 million in equivalent shares.
The location was part of a notable gaff when the developer submitted an incorrect address to city planners who briefly issued a development permit to transform a nearby business as a cannabis retailer. The issue was resolved shortly after it was discovered.
Another vacancy is the “Choom Cannabis” location on Third Street is also still listed as a licensed retailer though the space has been vacant for months.
The license for the location was obtained by “Clarity Cannabis” but that chain’s 10 locations Alberta were purchased by Vancouver based Choom in late 2019.
Choom has 12 stores in Alberta, including Brooks, as well as several in the Vancouver area and Ontario.