Opening a cannabis retail store in Alberta? We make it simple to align your cannabis retailer insurance
500 and counting. This the number of cannabis retail stores that Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) agency recently approved for the province. According to 420intel.ca, “More than 500 cannabis stores have been given the green light in Alberta, with nearly another 200 pending. … With 124 of those Alberta stores, Calgary has nearly a quarter of the Alberta total and more than any other city in Canada. Within its city limits, Edmonton counts 88 cannabis stores.”1
Certainly, not only are these numbers impressive but they speak to high consumer demand for cannabis retail products throughout the province. However, while growth in cannabis retail licenses presents a significant opportunity for experienced as well as budding entrepreneurs, any new venture exposes business owners to risk.
And, in particular, the risks associated with cannabis are new for the Canadian insurance marketplace. In other words, getting insurance isn’t easy for cannabis retailers. Certainly, this is why it’s essential to work with an insurance brokerage that is experienced in placing cannabis retailer risks.
Ever since the government announced plans to legalize recreational cannabis in Canada, we’ve made cannabis insurance a priority for our team. This is because placing cannabis risk exposures isn’t easy. So to deliver the best possible insurance experience to our clients we’ve made understanding the specific needs of cannabis entrepreneurs a priority for our business insurance brokers. Above all, our focus on delivering a better insurance experience is what drives us.
What you need to know about cannabis retailing might surprise you
Balancing rewards and risks. Similar to gaming and liquor, there are specific obligations that all licensed cannabis retailers in the province must adhere to. Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) is managing an extensive online site that provides specific policies and guidance for cannabis retailers.
For instance, AGLC notes that, “Licensees should be aware that the sale of cannabis carries a risk of potential liability. Questions on liability should be directed to a lawyer.”2
As well, the AGLC Retail Cannabis Store Handbook provides specific policies and guidelines that owners, staff and board directors of a cannabis retailer in Alberta must adhere to. In addition to these guidelines, the following elements of managing a cannabis retail outlet are covered:
- Qualified Cannabis Worker
- SellSafe Cannabis Staff Training Program
- Background Checks
- Premises Requirements
- Sensory Display Centers
- Record Keeping Systems
- Cannabis Purchases and Returns
- Advertising and Product Promotion
- Enforcement of Legislation3
Most importantly, you can find more specifics about the wide-ranging requirements that relate to complying with licensing requirements in the Retail Cannabis Store Handbook. Moreover, you can find information about policies and guidelines in the AGLC Cannabis Representative Handbook.
Given the scope and scale of policies and guidelines that every licensed cannabis retail business in Alberta must follow, ensuring that your investment is protected is also essential. Likewise, you face many common risks when you are operating a retail space and interacting with the general public.
However, as a cannabis retailer, you are working within a relatively new consumer product industry and as such, business insurance is harder to place.
So it makes sense to work with insurance brokers such as the experts at ALIGNED who have a deep and thorough understanding of the Canadian cannabis insurance marketplace.
Cannabis Retail 101 | Common risks that cannabis retailers need to get covered
Like any new industry, there are specific risks that cannabis retailers in Alberta are facing. For example:
- Misunderstandings related to Canadian cannabis laws and regulations
- High business interruption exposure due to the value of cannabis products
- Higher probability of fire
- Spoilage risk of cannabis retail inventory (including mould and fungus)
- High market/dollar value of cannabis products and inventory
And with the cannabis retail industry rapidly expanding across the province, the potential for new store owners to encounter risk exposes is significant.
For example, Global News just reported, “Canopy Growth Corp. says it will open its first retail cannabis stores in Alberta. The Ontario-based company says it’s set to open 10 stores under the Tweed and Tokyo Smoke banners and has additional locations in the pipeline. The stores, which are to open over the next week, include seven locations in Calgary, one each in Spruce Grove, Lethbridge and Edmonton. Canopy says it will create more than 100 jobs in Alberta.”4
Above all, opening and/or expanding your bricks and mortar cannabis retail store footprint means that the best insurance products are nothing short of essential.
The coverage you need | The cannabis expertise you can count on
To sum up, there are many types of insurance coverage that you should be aware of if you are opening or growing your cannabis retail business in Alberta. In addition, each one of the coverages below can provide important protection for your bottom line. For instance:
- Commercial General Liability Insurance
- Directors & Officers (D&O) / Board Insurance
- Errors & Omissions (E&O) / Professional Liability / Indemnity Insurance
- Crime Insurance / Fidelity Insurance
- Cyber Liability & Privacy Insurance
- Property Insurance
- Product Recall Insurance
- Umbrella Liability Insurance
And to help you understand the nuances of cannabis business insurance options, we’re regularly updating our Insurance Blog with informative posts about cannabis. Below, please find a selection of recent articles about cannabis insurance.
- What insurers want to know before insuring a cannabis clinical trial
- Ontario cannabis insurance – the nuances
- Considering a cannabis health products start up? Consider risk first.
- Why cannabis industry companies in Canada face a multitude of risks
- Insuring a cannabis edibles company in Canada
In short, getting cannabis retailer business insurance that specifically aligns with the risks your business faces isn’t option. Most importantly, ALIGNED Insurance brokers across Canada understand the marketplace and can help you get the best value and options for your cannabis retail store.
Source(s): 1 420intel.ca: Cannabis store approvals in Alberta surpass 500, many more on the way ; 2 AGLC.ca: 1.5 Licensees’s Responsibilities Retail Cannabis Store Handbook ; 3 AGLC Retail Cannabis Store Handbook ; AGLC Cannabis Representative Handbook; 4 Globalnews.ca: Canopy Growth to open 10 cannabis retail stores in Alberta ;