Pubdate: Sat, 25 Nov 2017
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Times Colonist
Author: Paola Loriggio
Page: B5


Online cannabis dispensaries are the latest to cash in on the holiday
shopping frenzy, with some offering dramatic markdowns or novelty
products as the season known for consumer spending gets underway.

Several online cannabis stores are holding Black Friday sales for the
first time this year in an effort to stay competitive and draw new
customers in what they call an increasingly competitive market.

Savings typically range from 10 to 35 per cent, though some deals
advertised go as high as 45 per cent off.

The sale of medical marijuana has been legal for years, but selling
cannabis for recreational purposes won't be allowed until next summer,
with each province setting its own rules.

Under current rules, only producers who are licensed by Health Canada
are allowed to produce and sell cannabis to those with a

Storefront and online dispensaries that are not licensed are illegal.
Brick-and-mortar dispensaries in some cities, including Toronto, have
been the target of police raids in the last year, which has led some
of them to shut down. Many, however, continue to operate.

Eric Chan, manager of the Vancouver-based Canada Weed Dispensary, said
jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon seemed like a simple way to spur

The company, which verifies customers are over 19 and have a
prescription for medical marijuana, has seen a spike in traffic on its
site since it announced a 25-per-cent markdown on all stock, he said.

But he said it's too early to see whether that translates to a big
bump in sales. "It's only 10 a.m. here and most of these guys I
believe are probably just getting up," he said.

For SESH Cannabis, a months-old online dispensary based in Toronto,
slashing prices for Black Friday seemed like a good way to draw
attention to a fledgling company, said founder Anthony Sesh. "You kind
of have to create a big splash just because there's so many other
storefronts doing sales similar to this as well, so that's why we kind
of opted for 25 per cent off, some other stores are doing 10-15, in
order to make an impact," he said. "We want to make that impact and we
want to gain customers," he said.

Cannabis activist Jodie Emery, who is out on bail on drug-related
charges, said that as the industry grows and businesses multiply,
"trying to compete and differentiate from everyone else means offering
great deals or clever discounts of some kind."

It can also mean getting creative with products, she said, pointing to
a recent crop of cannabis advent calendars that has turned into an
unexpected hit. "It's super clever and fun and the consumer definitely
demands it, and that's why the businesses offer it," she said.
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