Some garden centres say they’re disappointed that they won’t be allowed to sell marijuana seeds or seedlings when recreational cannabis becomes legal in October.
Lisa Silva from Bluegrass Nursery in Calgary says customers are already asking her about how to grow cannabis, and she’d welcome the right to sell them plants.
“It’s another market opportunity for us to capture,” she says.
Federal law allows Canadians to cultivate up to four plants per household, although Quebec and Manitoba have chosen to prohibit home cultivation altogether.
But the federal legislation doesn’t allow anyone to sell plants and seeds unless they are a “provincially or territorially regulated retailer … or a federally licensed producer.”
So far, that doesn’t include garden centres.
In five provinces – Ontario, Quebec, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick — cannabis will only be available from government-owned stores and/or online.
Alberta, Newfoundland and British Columbia have opted for a mix of government-run and privately-licensed stores, while Manitoba and Saskatchewan will offer only private stores.
In Alberta, private retailer NewLeaf Cannabis is planning to open 18 shops, but Chief Administrative Officer Angus Taylor says the company hasn’t yet decided whether to sell seeds or seedlings.
“It’s a challenge just training our staff to be good as cannabis advisers,” Taylor says. If employees were to sell plants and seeds, he adds, they would need to be “good horticulture advisers too.”