Canada is definitely now the source of some serious innovation and the example is one that’s going to resonate. Tech companies everywhere, start your engines.

Happy Canada Day, indeed. So we can all celebrate right, starting July 1st, of-age Ontarians will be able to buy recreational pot legally at the LCBO (at 40 stores in the province, by the end of the year) and online. And, Shopify is about to become a much bigger part of our day-to-day lives.

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, a subsidiary of the board that regulates liquor in Ontario, chose this ecommerce platform to process sales both online and in LCBO stores. So Shopify’s technology will be used to process transactions on iPads in the select store locations, and they’ll also display product and health information, guidelines etc. It’s a pretty huge development for the Ottawa-born ecommerce giant.

Loren Padelford, VP at Shopify said, “Shopify enables seamless and secure retail experiences both online and offline, across multiple sales channels and geographies. Bringing this differentiator to the LCBO on this historic project to consumers of legal age across Ontario, is a great example of a made-in-Canada innovation, which we are proud to be a part of.”

And, yeah – Shopify is now used by 600,000 merchants worldwide (among them, Drake, Kylie, Kanye, and Tesla), and has been quietly powering an ecommerce revolution that’s seen it move closer in on territory occupied by Amazon and eBay. Since the news broke about it’s now huge role in cannabis sales, Shopify shares are up 8% apiece. So Canada is definitely now the source of some serious innovation and the example is one that’s going to resonate. Tech companies everywhere, start your engines.

The stage is now being set for the cannabis industry to thrive online, with everyone from app developers to skincare companies to bong manufacturers feeling the rumblings of what’s anticipated to be an industry-wide multi-billion dollar bonanza. Tech companies especially: “The boom has already started,” Charles Bern, the founder of Patio Interactive, a virtual reality company, told CBC Toronto. “The levels of innovation, technology, the ripple-effect of the industry has already been felt. Companies have been gearing up.”

Virtual reality is just one avenue that tech firms are leaning into in order to position themselves favorably in the growing industry as legalization gets closer. Berns’ Patio Interactive is all about providing an immersive digital experience for smokers, so they get to see and feel where their weed comes from, but the sky is basically the limit when it comes to the other opportunities open for the grabbing. The CBC Toronto article referenced an online weed school, strain matching app, and cosmetics brand… so, we’re about to see a lot more of ‘what they’ll come up with next.’ New Shark Tank, anyone?

The rumblings of a boom have been felt since long before the Shopify announcement, though. A 2016 Deloitte report estimated that once cannabis is legal in Canada, businesses that support it’s production and distribution (called the “ancillary market”) will be valued at about $7.8 billion – $13.9 billion. And are you surprised? Finally, the world of cannabis is finally about to get a lot more lucrative, creative, and exciting. What a time to be a stoner.

Categories: CANNABIS