National Access Cannabis and Second Cup Announce Updated Plans to Build Retail META Stores Across Ontario

Published: August 16, 2018

National Access Cannabis and Second Cup Announce Updated Plans to Build Retail META Stores Across Ontario

OTTAWA, Aug. 15, 2018 /CNW/ – National Access Cannabis Corp. (“NAC” or the “Company”) (TSX VENTURE: META), Canada’s best practices leader in delivering safe and responsible access to legal cannabis, and The Second Cup Ltd. (“Second Cup”) (TSX:SCU), Canada’s second-largest retailer of specialty coffee, today announced an update to their national strategic alliance in response to the Ontario government’s announcement to roll out a private retail cannabis model starting April 1, 2019.

NAC and Second Cup originally announced their strategic alliance in April 2018, through which the two companies will develop a network of NAC-branded and operated recreational cannabis stores in provinces where legally permissible.

Based on the Ontario government’s announcement earlier this week, NAC and Second Cup have begun actively reviewing potential Second Cup locations in the province for conversion to NAC-operated cannabis retail stores, under the brand and banner Meta Cannabis Supply Co.™ (aka META).

There are more than 130 Second Cup locations across Ontario, with a significant number of sites in high-traffic, densely populated municipalities, including Ottawa and Toronto. As more details become available through legislation, the companies will continue to assess locations for Ontario retail opportunities. Conversion of any Second Cup café to a META recreational cannabis store will be conditional on obtaining a retail license from provincial regulators and the approval of Second Cup and the applicable franchisee and landlord.

“The recent provincial announcement for private cannabis retail in Ontario provides an opportunity to enhance the national plans we have with Second Cup to build and operate private retail stores in Ontario under our new and exciting META brand,” said Mark Goliger, Chief Executive Officer of National Access Cannabis. “Second Cup has exceptional quality real estate in locations throughout Ontario and we plan to leverage this to provide safe and responsible access to legal cannabis. Our alliance is the perfect fit for the province, and we hope to join the Ontario government in its consultations and provide a retail environment that supports the primary goal of public safety.”

“Our strategic alliance with National Access Cannabis allows Second Cup to leverage our real estate assets to increase value for our franchisee partners and our shareholders while maintaining focus on our primary objective of being the specialty coffee brand of choice across Canada,” said Garry Macdonald, Second Cup’s President & CEO. “NAC has developed a strong reputation as a leading operator in the cannabis industry and the opportunity to activate our partnership in Ontario, Second Cup’s largest region, is a strong growth opportunity for our two businesses.”

In addition to the opportunity in Ontario, NAC’s META retail brand is targeting 2018 openings of 50-70 retail stores in the western provinces of Manitoba (where it was awarded one of only four licences through a provincial RFP process), Alberta and British Columbia, and is currently recruiting up to 700 employees to be trained for Canada’s retail launch which is expected to begin on October 17, 2018.