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Kingston, Ont., cannabis store operators reflect on five years post-legalization

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Kingston, Ont., cannabis store operators reflect on five years post-legalization
Cannabis store owners and operators in Kingston say that while it's oversaturated, they believe the cannabis market will eventually right itself – Oct 18, 2023

Editor’s note: The story has been corrected to properly reflect who pays excise tax and the exact numbers.

Kingston cannabis store Calyx and Trichomes, which operates two locations in the city, has been open for business since getting its license in 2020.

This week marks five years since cannabis was legalized in Canada, and Jennawae Cavion, Co-Owner at Calyx and Trichomes, said it’s been quite an experience.

One topic that sticks out when it comes to the sale of legalized cannabis is the over-saturation of the market.

“It is over-saturated right now but unfortunately there’s only so many people in Kingston and people are going to shop wherever’s convenient,” said Cavion.

In Kingston there are currently over 15 different cannabis stores.

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Xavier Cyr is the manager at Inspired Cannabis in downtown Kingston, and he echoes Cavion’s observations.

“A lot of people saw the profits that were happening in the U.S., and wanted to jump on the bandwagon,” said Cyr.

For both of these cannabis sellers, it comes down to too many people reaching for a piece of the pie. However, both said they feel that the market will right itself before it goes up in smoke.

“Stores won’t be able to stay open, it’s just not a race to the bottom for cannabis prices,” added Cavion.

“The market’s going to correct itself kind of like on its own, depending on who stands apart from the other ones with just, your energy, your knowledge and your overall kind of like vibe of the store,” said Cyr.

Both have their own ideas about what needs to change in order to re-stimulate the market.

One big sticking point for both businesses is the excise tax.

Licensed producers pay one dollar per gram sold up to 10 dollars and 10% of the sale price beyond that in taxes.

“It’s something that, if you look in other industries, other cannabis legalized industries, it’s not as a bad as here,” added Cyr.

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