Canopy Growth closing legal pot shops amid virus outbreak

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Canopy Growth Corp. is temporarily shutting down its corporate-owned cannabis stores across the country Tuesday due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the company said in a statement. 

Canopy, which owns 23 legal cannabis stores in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, will close its stores for an undetermined period of time at 5 p.m. local.  It is also closing its visitors centre located at its headquarters in Smiths Falls, Ont. 

“We have a responsibility to our employees, their families, and our communities to do our part to ‘flatten the curve’ by limiting social interactions. For us, that means shifting our focus from retail to e-commerce," said David Klein, chief executive officer of Canopy Growth, in a statement. 

Canopy Growth has 28 retail stores operating under its Tokyo Smoke and Tweed banners, as of the end of last month, according to a regulatory filing. Some of those stores are owned by individuals who have been issued provincial licences to open legal pot shops, with Canopy providing operational and management expertise, but no ownership stake. 

Many retailers across Canada such as Artizia Inc. and Lululemon Athletica Inc. have decided to temporarily close their doors in recent days to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Cannabis consumers stocked up on legal pot over the weekend, with the Ontario Cannabis Store recording 4,000 online orders on Sunday, double what the provincial retailer typically experiences on that day, OCS officials told BNN Bloomberg in an email. 

Canopy said in its statement than customers would be able to obtain their legal cannabis through online retailers in their respective provinces. 

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