The Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) estimates that pot-based derivatives could represent 20% of its sales within two or three years. This is an industry that is expected to gain popularity. CEO Jean-François Bergeron takes stock of the first two years of the state corporation’s activities, which were marked by supply difficulties and the impacts of the pandemic. It also provides an update on its upcoming projects and the development of its branch network.
What are your sales in the last 12 months?
We sold 75 tonnes of cannabis. In Quebec, before the arrival of the SQDC, consumption on the black market was estimated at 150 tonnes. We are seriously approaching 50% of the market share. The pandemic has not served the SQDC badly, in a sense, it has accelerated the capture of the black market.
How many regular products do you have?
Today we have between 200 and 300 products permanently in our branches. You can’t find a similar offer on the black market. There is a bearing in our products. To offer between 200 and 300 products permanently, we have a list of 500 to 700 products.
What are your plans for the development of your network?
We currently have 46 stores. We have 21 more leases signed. We expect to end our financial year (in March) around 70 branches. Our business plan is to have nearly a hundred stores within two years. Starting next year, we should be in all regions of Quebec. We have over 700 employees.
How much do you plan to give back to the government for this year?
We are targeting a dividend of $ 50 million. In our first quarter, we reached $ 10 million and we are growing.
Do you plan to expand your same day delivery service across the province? For now, it is available on the island of Montreal and in Laval.
There is a craze for same day delivery. We are preparing to offer this service on the South Shore of Montreal. Then we will see for other regions of Quebec. We are also testing a reservation service in four branches. The consumer can call into a store and speak with an advisor. He has his order prepared and goes to pick it up.
What importance does the SQDC want to give to derivative products?
I think that derivative products will take up more and more space. Could the SQDC sell creams? It is not in line with our mission. For edibles and beverages […] the offer will increase. We are in discussions with several producers to think of other products, such as cookies or soft bars. Currently, derivatives represent less than 5% of our sales. It is thought that this could be 20% within two or three years.
Could we see vapers with cannabis at the SQDC?
In Quebec, we do not sell vape pens, unlike other provinces. We feel that this product has a certain attraction. It is convenient for the consumer. It is not a prohibition of the law, but a directive of public health. With the pandemic, now is not a good time to push this file. It’s not in the pipeline for the short term.