Find­ing a fo­cus

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Front page -

“When I dis­cov­ered con­cen­trates and ex­tracts and these purer forms of cannabis, where you don’t have to light things on fire and breathe in the smoke, that ended up be­ing more up my al­ley,” says Keefe. “I was in­stantly drawn to it be­cause af­ter hav­ing quit smok­ing a few years ear­lier and now be­ing able to give up smok­ing weed, for me, I felt like it was a health ben­e­fit to not to have to deal with the stink of the smoke, the tar, the chloro­phyll, the wax… ev­ery­thing that comes with tak­ing a big piece of plant mat­ter and throw­ing it on a fire and breath­ing it all in.”

The Dab­ber Hash­ery started out as a con­sign­ment sales op­er­a­tion in­side an­other busi­ness set up in hopes of be­com­ing a li­cenced cannabis re­tailer. But when the NLC re­leased its re­quest for pro­posal, he was in­stantly turned off and plans for High Street were aban­doned.

“My first re­ac­tion was, ‘They don’t want peo­ple like me sell­ing cannabis.’ My sec­ond re­ac­tion was, ‘There’s no way I’m go­ing to give them all this in­for­ma­tion that they’re look­ing for.’ Com­plete fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sure from ev­ery­body in­volved and all this kind of stuff.”

The nail in the cof­fin, how­ever, was a profit mar­gin of eight per cent. By his math, af­ter tax, a li­cenced cannabis re­tailer would only stand to make 62 cents for ev­ery $10 of cannabis sold.

“I’ll prob­a­bly never know, but I sus­pect that what the pro­vin­cial govern­ment wanted was for fed­er­ally-li­cenced grow­ers that have gone through this rig­or­ous ap­pli­ca­tion process to be the ones sell­ing cannabis, or ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions like Loblaws,” he says.

“I know they did give a few li­cences to in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers, but I’m not 100-per-cent con­vinced there’s a busi­ness case there. It scared me off.”

In­stead, Keefe and com­pany are fo­cus­ing on find­ing their own place in the cannabis mar­ket by of­fer­ing ex­per­tise in a spe­cific prod­uct line.

“For my part, the niche we’re try­ing to find here is help­ing

HARRY SUL­LI­VAN — SALTWIRE NET­WORK

Joe San­ford, op­er­a­tions man­ager at the Breath­ing Green So­lu­tions cannabis grow fa­cil­ity in Went­worth is seen in­spect­ing mar­i­juana plants that are al­most at the har­vest stage. Qual­ity con­trol re­quires that any­one en­ter­ing the grow rooms must wear lab coats, spe­cial footwear, gloves and net­ting for head and fa­cial hair.

PACKET FILE PHOTO

Ralph Duf­fit has Clarenville’s first re­tail cannabis store.

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