Cannabis: The Next Franchising Frontier in Canada?

Recently, Golden Leaf Holdings and Blackshire Capital Corp. teamed up to create a brand new cannabis franchise in Canada; Chalice Farms. With medical cannabis dispensaries already in on the franchising business model, this is an industry that seems ripe for franchising opportunities.

The cannabis industry is set to generate billions of dollars in revenue. It’s already going strong in certain regions down south and the medical cannabis field has been thriving out west for quite a while and making inroads throughout the country for years.

As the country gets ready to legalize cannabis across all 10 provinces and three territories, let’s take a look at where potential franchising opportunities could be created in this new, relatively uncharted industry with a little help from our neighbours to the south, where cannabis has been legal for years in some states.

Growing Operations

At its core, the cannabis industry is an agricultural one. Where the raw supply of cannabis crop comes from is just as important to consumers as the packaged finished products, which allows for branding opportunities of the actual cannabis plants themselves. A brand could set itself apart by their growing process (organic, environmentally friendly, etc.) or by the strains of cannabis they are able to produce, giving them the opportunity to brand and franchise the actual growing operation.


An obvious franchise opportunity in the cannabis industry is the franchising of cannabis dispensaries themselves. As they are a retail outlet, putting a franchise system in place for dispensaries would theoretically be fairly easy and it’s already happened in the medical cannabis field. Unlike it’s recreational counterpart, medicinal cannabis has been available for legal sale for awhile now and some brands have already begun offering franchise opportunities to people looking to open a medical cannabis dispensary.

On the recreational side of things, if a brand of dispensary can quickly get established and gain some recognition in the sure-to-be-crowded cannabis market, that brand could start franchising outlets similar to the medical cannabis side of things. Franchising will allow a brand to strengthen recognition across the country, attract budding entrepreneurs and scoop up independent dispensaries that would be interested in being associated with a strong brand.

Indeed, in Colorado there are already cannabis franchises in place for dispensaries. Being a part of a franchise means franchisees get to use the brand’s purchasing power to save money on the product.

Entire Supply Chains

In theory, the cannabis industry is in the unique position of being able to potentially franchise an entire supply chain from the growing operation to the processing of it to the retail outlet. If a brand was to get enough clout in the market, they might opt to have both growing operations and retail dispensaries and there is no reason to think they couldn’t bring franchisees on board to run similar complete growth-to-retail operations.

Unlike other agricultural commodities, which are grown at such vast scales that they are essentially anonymous to the buying public, cannabis is likely going to stay as a niche crop that is grown in relatively small quantities. This means it would be in a brand’s interest to control their entire supply chain providing they had strong recognition and a good reputation for their product.

Paraphernalia Retail

“Head shops” or “smoke shops” have been around for decades selling consumers various “tobacco” smoking devices and other paraphernalia. In recent years, they’ve dropped the tobacco pretense and have embraced their obvious cannabis relation. There actually are some paraphernalia franchises in Canada already and with cannabis set to be legalized nationwide, more franchising opportunities are bound to pop up in this sector.

Anyone interested in potential franchising opportunities in the cannabis industry should keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities, as more will be coming up soon. In the meantime, if you are looking for franchising opportunities in any industry, sign up for a free FranNet franchise search and consultation today and let us help you on your way to business ownership.  

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