As Canadian marijuana growers rush to boost production before pot gets legalized, Quebec’s biggest cannabis company looks to a convenience-store giant for a road map.
The Hydropothecary Corp. says it wants to follow the footsteps of Quebec leaders such as Couche-Tard, owner of the Circle K chain, which started with one store outside Montreal and gobbled up rivals from Ontario to Norway. Hydropothecary secured about a third of its home market last month, when it signed a letter of intent with the province’s alcohol distributor to supply 44,092 pounds (20,000 kilograms) of cannabis products in the first year of recreational sales.
“I plan to be one of the two to three multinational companies still standing in five years,” founder and Chief Executive Officer Sebastien St. Louis, 34, said in a phone interview last week. “Our strategy is to go to Quebec first, then expand to Ontario, then to Western Canada, and then internationally.”
Canada’s pot producers are jockeying to grab a slice of a medical and recreational marijuana market that’s forecast to reach $6.2 billion (C$8 billion) in sales by 2021. Companies such as Aurora Cannabis have launched takeovers while others such as Cronos Group are listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market to boost international exposure. Share prices in the industry have tumbled since the beginning of the year, however,