Finding a focus
“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
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.
Ralph Duffit has Clarenville’s first retail cannabis store.