| Canada

Second Cup partners with National Access Cannabis for new retail concept

Canada’s second largest specialty coffee shop chain announces plan to create branded cannabis retail stores by converting some of its 130 existing Ottawa cafés

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Canadian specialty coffee shop chain Second Cup and regulated cannabis retailer, National Access Cannabis (NCA), have begun “actively reviewing” a partnership to retail cannabis across the coffee chain’s 130 Ontario sites. The partnership will see the creation of new brand, Meta Cannabis Supply, in response to the Ontario government’s announcement to create a regulated private retail model for cannabis from April 1 2019.

“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," said Garry Macdonald, Second Cup's President & CEO.

In June 2018 Canada’s senate approved a federalised legalisation plan to regulate the sale of recreational cannabis for citizens over the age of 19. If the legislation is ratified, Canada will join a growing number of states in the US, including Washington DC, Alaska and California, where recreational cannabis is legal. Legalisation has generated a fast-growing US cannabis industry, including a growing array of infused edible products, that will be worth up to $30bn by 2021 according to some estimates.

Second Cup, which operates around 350 stores in Canada, has struggled against its main rivals, Starbucks and Tim Hortons, with a series of loss-making years since 2012. The specialty chain, which underwent a significant rebrand in 2015, will be hoping to capitalise on a potentially lucrative recreational cannabis industry through its 3rd Wave-style store model.

Conversion of any Second Cup café to a Meta recreational cannabis store will be conditional on obtaining a retail licence from provincial regulators and the approval of Second Cup and the applicable franchisee and landlord.


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