A customer carries her coffee as she leave a Second Cup coffee retailer in Toronto on Monday Dec. 5, 2016. Second Cup looking to convert some of its coffee shops into recreational cannabis dispensaries and lounges. (Doug Ives/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Some pot with your coffee? Second Cup to convert some coffee shops into pot cafes

Second Cup, Canada’s second-largest retailer of speciality coffee, has signed a strategic alliance with marijuana clinic operator National Access Cannabis to develop and operate a network of recreational pot stores, the two companies announced Thursday.

The companies say the NAC-branded stores will initially be located across Western Canada, expanding to include additional provinces where the law allows.

NAC will apply for licenses to dispense cannabis products and, upon receipt, work with Second Cup and applicable franchisees to construct retail stores carrying cannabis products.

“With exceptional quality real estate located across Canada, our alliance with Second Cup will offer consumers access to quality cannabis products and the superior service in the comfortable setting they’ve come to expect from NAC,” NAC CEO Mark Goliger said in a statement.

Conversion of any Second Cup café to an NAC-branded recreational cannabis dispensary will be conditional on obtaining a retail license from provincial regulators and the approval of Second Cup and the applicable franchisee and landlord, the press release said.

“This strategic relationship provides Second Cup with a great opportunity to leverage our select real estate assets to increase value for shareholders and franchisee partners,” said Garry Macdonald, Second Cup’s president & CEO. “At the same time, we remain focused on growing our Second Cup brand and sales through continued product innovation and expanding our network across Canada.”

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