Mayor & Council
City of Thunder Bay
500 Donald Street E.
Thunder Bay, ON P7C 5K4
Dear Mayor Mauro and Members of Council:
CANNABIS RETAIL OPPORTUNITY
I appreciate this opportunity to provide the perspective of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce for consideration in the upcoming debate and discussion regarding the opportunity for cannabis retailers to locate within our municipality.
Thunder Bay residents are already legally able to purchase cannabis online and will have the option to legally purchase cannabis in retail stores in other Ontario jurisdictions as of April 1, 2019. A 2018 report by Deloitte 1 estimates that the legal recreational cannabis market in Canada will generate up to $4.34 billion in total sales in 2019, of which up to $1.68 billion will be purchased in Ontario.
That report also provides useful data regarding cannabis consumer preferences. It indicates that 51% of survey respondents were interested in purchasing from licensed private retail stores compared to a third of respondents who were interested in purchasing online. Cannabis consumers are looking for legal retailers whose staff possess strong product knowledge and provide a positive, engaging shopping experience.
We encourage Council to consider the economic benefits of locating legal retail cannabis in Thunder Bay. These benefits include: new business development, job creation, the generation of municipal property taxes, increased demand for commercial space, and new tourist attraction. This is in addition to the promised per household funding incentive from the Province for municipalities that allow legal cannabis retailers.
We believe that allowing legal cannabis retailers to locate within our community sends a positive message that Council is open for business and is welcoming of new industries as we work together to build a City of Opportunity.