Canada’s third largest coffee retailer, Second Cup, has announced broad intentions to convert existing cafes to recreational cannabis stores under the brand name Meta Cannabis Supply Co. (Meta) beginning as early as April 2019.
The plan is in partnership with Ottawa, Ontario-based medical cannabis supplier National Access Cannabis Corp. (NAC), and it follows the Canadian Senate’s June vote that lifted a nearly century-old cannabis prohibition. By Oct. 17 of this year, it will no longer be illegal for Canadians age 19 or older to use recreational marijuana. The government of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, last week unveiled a retail model for private cannabis sellers that will take effect April 1, 2019.
NAC and Second Cup said today they plan to develop a network of cannabis-and-coffee stores in provinces where legally permissible, and reviews of potential locations in Ontario are underway.
“Our strategic alliance with National Access Cannabis allows Second Cup to leverage our real estate assets to increase value for our franchisee partners and our shareholders while maintaining focus on our primary objective of being the specialty coffee brand of choice across Canada,” Garry Macdonald, Second Cup’s president and CEO, said in an announcement today. “NAC has developed a strong reputation as a leading operator in the cannabis industry and the opportunity to activate our partnership in Ontario, Second Cup’s largest region, is a strong growth opportunity for our two businesses.”
With more than 130 locations across Ontario alone, Second Cup in 2015 began rolling out rebranded stores, featuring many of the quality-focused trappings typically associated with coffee’s Third Wave movement. Meanwhile, NAC is one of only four companies through a provincial RFP process in the Western Provinces that will be licensed to sell cannabis in a retail setting. The company said it is targeting some 50-70 Meta-brand store openings in 2018 alone.