The cannabis retail industry is booming in Canada since cannabis was legalized. In some markets, you’re seeing an oversaturation of cannabis retail shops. We heard recently that in Toronto on some streets there are more cannabis retail locations than coffee shops. Wow!

We’ve talked with a number of owners across Canada to understand what the future of this industry holds, what it was like to go through the initial lottery process, and what their expectations are for the market. Read on below for some quick-hit answers about what it’s like to start up a cannabis retail business from the one and only Harman Litt, co-founder of Mary J’s Cannabis Inc.

If you’re a new cannabis retail owner and wondering what you need to do to set up your business for success from day one, check out our article here on Accounting for your Cannabis Retail Business.

What made you decide to leave your career and start a Cannabis Retail Business?  

“I was an avid investor in the Cannabis Industry since 2017. When Doug Ford privatized cannabis, the opportunity was clear cut. I always wanted to own a business and being a part of a new industry from Day 1 made my decision very easy.”


What was the lottery process like?

“The lottery process itself was very easy the first time. Unfortunately, my business partners and I did not win. We had a lease out on our Kingston property and were waiting to open up. But we were not able to. We had to sit on our lease for 18 months before we could open.”


What was your process to go about selecting a location to open up shop? 

“Our decision was to hit high walking traffic areas. Our location in Kingston is close to Queen’s University and one of the busiest intersections in the city.”


How far in advance did you plan for your opening? What were some considerations for opening?  

“We have been planning our opening since September of 2018. We applied for our license in January of 2020, when the licensing process opened up for the general public. Due to us not having any more money left to pay for rent, the main focus for us was opening as fast as possible. 

Some considerations we had for the opening were thinking about what POS system to use, how we wanted our store to look like, and how we wanted to keep track of our financials.”


How do you go about getting inventory for your business? What are the rules/regulations around this?  

“Inventory is all supplied by the OCS (Ontario Cannabis Store). As soon as you have a Retail Store Authorization, you get contacted by the OCS, then you can purchase from them directly.”


What are some trends you’ve seen in the cannabis retail industry?  

“I think that the retail industry will be consolidated till we have very few independent stores left. Most of the stores you’ll see will be from the big players. The goal is to become one of the big fish.”


What’s one thing you’d recommend to new cannabis retail store owners? 

“With the margins on Cannabis decreasing, you have to keep your costs as low as possible. Cannabis is becoming a game of margins.”


How did you decide what firm to work with for accounting and bookkeeping? 

“When I was looking for accountants, I was looking for someone that I could trust. I contacted Welch LLP, who then referred Blueprint. It’s been a delight working with both firms. They are people I can contact whenever I need clarification on financial matters.”



Blueprint Accounting’s commitment to help

Our team will do everything we can to ensure that businesses have the accurate and up-to-date bookkeeping and financial records they need in order to speed their applications for benefits, financing, and lines of credit.

At Blueprint, we can provide bookkeeping and tax services that can bring value to your business. You can expect no overcharge fees and service suited for you. If you feel you’re not getting value from your bookkeeper or accountant and are tired of paying bookkeeping, tax or any accounting service on an hourly rate, contact us today.

Need bookkeeping, tax, or any other accounting services? Send us a message!