Canada’s decision to legalize the recreational use of cannabis has allowed the rise of an emerging investment market. The cannabis public sector has become one of the most followed industries for investors. 

As such, the Investing News Network brings investors a collection of stories on the critical transition and its impact on the public markets.

The legalization of adult-use cannabis will create an entire new market across Canada through the opening of retailers offering these products.

Each province has been tasked with determining the best approach for these stores and the restrictions implemented to those seeking to open shops.

The management of these shops will be restrictive by nature, with age limits and having control overseeing the product itself, making it very important for the operators of these stores to have prepared staff.

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Some of these retailers have been receiving training for its staff, from cannabis company Lift & Co. (TSXV:LIFT), through deals with some provinces and companies looking to set up shops.

To date, Lift has earned deals to train staff members from the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC), Prince Edward Island Cannabis Management Corporation (PEICMC) and from cannabis producer Delta 9 (TSXV:NINE) and Spiritleaf, a subsidiary of Inner Spirit Holdings (CSE:ISH).

Lift has even announced a retail trade show—which will take place in Calgary, Alberta later this year—where retailers, suppliers and licensed producers (LPs) will all gather. Its certification program will also be showcased.

In an exclusive interview with the Investing News Network (INN), Matei Olaru, CEO of Lift, said the company wants to become the “no-brainer choice” for the brass of retailers coming from Alberta, BC and Ontario.

The Lift retail training consists of either an intensive five-day work program with quizzes and practices or a two-day certification course delivered online with additional in person training.

Once completed, the staff obtains a certification that must be renewed each year.

Olaru said the training covers cannabis categories and their significance, legislation in the appropriate province, consumption methods and the various products available.

Darren Bondar, president and CEO of Spiritleaf, said the training from Lift would prepare all staff members to “talk skillfully about cannabis in a way that is responsible, with a strong level of product knowledge.”

The training also includes an exclusive component—a built in collaboration with the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) group.

“Effective training programs for retail sales staff are vital to responsible recreational cannabis sales and consumption,” MADD Canada CEO Andrew Murie said in the announcement.

Will legal stores gain trust from existing cannabis consumers?

Questions remain of the actual phaseout for black market operations and current dispensaries which have gained the trust and return of frequent users of cannabis.

Unlicensed operations of cannabis are expected to continue and, perhaps, even thrive as the legal market is projected to face a shortage of product following legalization.

Olaru argues that the legal shops will end up winning over customers with clearer answers on the product sold.

The stores Lift is working with will allow customers to use a tablet tool called Cannabis Concierge, which is based from the data the company has been collecting through consumer reviews and official product information.

Olaru said the tool will offer specific SKU information for every product on store shelves.

“I actually think we’re in a position to provide a better service than you can currently get in the black market and the data asking current black market consumers support that,” Olaru said.

Investor takeaway

It will be critical for cannabis investors to see the results of the first few weeks of sales when leading product will start appearing through retailers.

While key markets such as B.C. and Ontario will not offer extensive physical retail offers on day one, in the long term investors will want to know how these stores move the product from producers in the public markets.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: Inner Spirit Holdings is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid for content.

The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence. 

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