Cannabis consumers will be able to purchase pot online from Shoppers Drug Mart very soon. The retail pharmacy owned by Loblaw Companies Ltd (TSX:L) received approved from Health Canada recently and it will be able to sell medical marijuana through its website. It’s unclear how quickly Shoppers will be able to start taking orders, but it will give consumers another important avenue to purchase cannabis from.
Over the past year, we’ve seen Shoppers secure supply deals with multiple different producers, including Aurora Cannabis Inc (TSX:ACB)(NYSE:ACB) and Aphria Inc (TSX:APHA)(NYSE:APHA). The store has been taking necessary steps to ensure it will both have a wide selection for its customers and various sources to obtain cannabis from as well.
Under the license, Shoppers will be able to sell various forms of cannabis, including seeds and oils. However, purchases will be limited to patients that have valid documentation, although it’s unclear how it will be verified or what type of document will be needed to make an order.
Given the struggles we’ve seen with the cannabis rollout thus far, consumers aren’t likely expecting much. However, chances are a for-profit company might have better odds of making online cannabis sales work rather than a government-run website like the Ontario Cannabis Store, which we’ve seen run into many issues already.
A good investment option for investors that don’t want to buy marijuana stocks
If successful, Shoppers Drug Mart could help Loblaw grow its sales through the cannabis industry without having to take on much risk in doing so. By just selling cannabis directly to consumers, Shoppers avoids a lot of the risk of being involved in the industry while at the same time being able to benefit from it.
It could be a great alternative to investing directly into a cannabis stock which is likely to carry far more risk and uncertainty that investing in Loblaw would. For Loblaw, which is looking for ways to grow sales, the cannabis industry could be a perfect match for what ails the stock, as even a minor bump in sales could give the share price new life.
Other retailers could get involved as well
We’re increasingly seeing more interest pop up in the industry, whether it’s from beverage makers, tobacco companies or retailers, many companies are taking notice of the excitement and growth prospects that the cannabis industry possesses. And the better the industry performs, the more likely we’re going to see others try and grab a piece of the market share.
One company that’s expressed interest is Alimentation Couche-Tard (TSX:ATD.B), who earlier in the year was looking at potentially selling cannabis in its convenience stores (where it would be legal to do so). While we haven’t seen that happen as of yet, it’s just another example of where other industries are eagerly waiting in the sidelines.
For investors, stocks like Couche-Tard and Loblaw could present unique investment opportunities into companies that can turn a profit and that won’t present significant risk. After all, there are many ways to invest in cannabis that don’t require taking a chance on a specific cannabis stock.