Ecommerce giant Shopify is set to become a major player in Canada's legal weed market
- Ecommerce giant Shopify will handle online cannabis sales for the province of Ontario, Canada in partnership with the provincially-run Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC).
- Cannabis in Ontario will be sold solely through OCRC's stores and online platform.
- It's a huge market: Ontario has over 13.6 million people, including Toronto.
Shopify is getting into the legal weed industry.
The ecommerce giant will handle online sales for the Canadian province of Ontario's cannabis market in partnership with the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), the Canadian Press reports.It's a huge market: The province has over 13.6 million people, including Canada's largest city and financial center, Toronto. And, a report from Deloitte estimates the retail market for legal cannabis in Canada could hit $8.7 billion annually, with Ontario consumers representing more than one-third of Canada's total population.
In Ontario, cannabis will be sold solely through provincially-run OCRC outlets, rather than privately-owned dispensaries.
The OCRC, a subsidiary of the provincial government's Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) - which handles liquor sales throughout the province - will use Shopify's platform for its online and mobile sales system. Shopify will also be used inside OCRC outlets to handle transactions, display product information on iPads, and manage human resources and inventory, the Canadian Press reports.
"We look forward to combining our expertise as a socially responsible retailer with Shopify's world-class commerce solutions to deliver the safe, informed and reliable shopping experience that our new customers will expect," George Soleas, the CEO of LCBO told the Canadian Press.
The OCRC plans on opening 80 cannabis stores by the summer of 2019, with another 150 coming by 2020. Online sales will help fill gaps in smaller and more remote towns where the OCRC does not plan to open outlets.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will federally legalize cannabis after July 1, with recreational sales to begin shortly thereafter.Shopify shares are up 8% to $136.16 apiece following the news. They've gained 28.86% this year.
The company is set to report its fourth-quarter results ahead of the Thursday's opening bell.