The SQDC has slashed its retail plan from 150 stores to 100

Published on January 27, 2020 · Last updated July 28, 2020
quebec sqdc retail storefront

Quebec’s crown monopoly cannabis retailer, the Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC), scaled back plans to continue expanding its retail offerings to 150 stores across the province of 8.5 million, saying last week, “As of today, our objective is to reach roughly a hundred points of sale within the next three years.”

At the moment, the SQDC offers 33 retail storefronts across Quebec (that number will become 34 on Monday as a new store opens in the Gaspé peninsula), with a plan to open seven more for a total of 40 by March.

Last May, SQDC CEO Jean-François Bergeron said he intended to open “110 to 150 outlets over the long term.” However, in a call for tenders released in December, the SQDC dramatically reduced that number, saying they only planned to open 56 new stores over the next three years.

In particular, he said, stores would be apportioned among “urban centres of each administrative region”—meaning Montreal, with one fifth of Quebec’s population, is due to receive an additional 15 stores, while Montreal’s North Shore suburb Laval (itself boasting 5% of the provincial population) will get five more.

At present, there are four SQDC stores on the Island of Montreal, as well as three stores in off-island suburbs (with none in Laval). Other stores are slated to open in the Quebec City area, and in Montérégie, comprising Montreal’s more distant South Shore suburbs as well as communities of the Eastern Townships region.

It is unclear whether Quebec’s decision to raise the legal age for cannabis from 18 to 21 had any effect on the lowering of the projected number of stores. As well, Quebec is releasing a dramatically truncated array of Cannabis 2.0 products, offering no vape pens and no edibles beyond—to date—CBD-infused tea-bags to begin with.

Unlike the troubled crown retail monopoly in New Brunswick, and Ontario’s ongoing struggle with its monopoly on wholesale and online orders, the SQDC has been a peculiar success.

It was among the early retailers to return to business-as-usual as the supply shortage eased last spring, and while Ontario and New Brunswick posted serious losses, SQDC CEO Bergeron predicted the agency would begin paying dividends back to the province in 2020. The SQDC posted its first profit in the first quarter of its second year.

Yet, though Quebec consumers prefer the illicit market, those who buy from the SQDC have generally expressed satisfaction with the corporation. Used to buying liquor and fine wines from crown monopoly spirits retailer the Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ), and surprisingly canna-skeptical, Quebeckers may find comfort in a no-frills government retailer.

Or they may just like that the SQDC offers some of the country’s lowest prices on legal cannabis.

Not everything at the SQDC has been rosy: due to the small number of retail locations, SQDC stores have been plagued with long lines across Quebec. In October, Bergeron told the Montreal Gazette, “Queues are not good. Good stores run without queues. We have worked a lot to get rid of these queues; they’re not good for our image.”

Shop highly rated stores near you

Showing you stores near
See all stores

Watch Leafly TV

Click here to discover more videos on Leafly TV.

Shop highly rated stores near you

Showing you stores near
See all stores
Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse Staniforth reports on cannabis, food safety, and Indigenous issues. He is the former editor of WeedWeek Canada.
View Jesse B. Staniforth's articles
Get good reads, local deals, and strain spotlights delivered right to your inbox.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to Leafly's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Stay In Touch

Receive updates on new products, special offers, and industry news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to Leafly's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Leafly mobile app
Get high for less.
Download the Leafly app.
Download Leafly: Marijuana Reviews on the App Store
Download Leafly Marijuana Reviews on Google Play

The material provided on Leafly is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Leafly is not engaged in rendering medical service or advice and the information provided is not a substitute for a professional medical opinion. If you have a medical problem, please contact a qualified health professional.

© 2024 Leafly, LLC
Leafly and the Leafly logo are registered trademarks of Leafly, LLC. All Rights Reserved.