Edmonton-based Liquor Stores N.A. hires cannabis strategist

CALGARY — Edmonton-based Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd. (TSX:LIQ) says it has hired one of its directors to map out its future cannabis strategy as Canada moves to make recreational pot legal by next July.

The company, which owns 231 retail liquor stores in Alberta, B.C. and Alaska, says James Burns will act as vice-chairman and be the lead executive for business transformation and investor relations. He was appointed to the board in June.

The company has previously indicated it is interested in retailing marijuana in Alberta and B.C. but was awaiting regulatory clarity before deciding if it would be profitable to do so.

Most of its liquor stores are in Alberta where the provincial government said recently it would allow private operators to sell cannabis from retail locations. B.C. has said it will allow both public and private retail outlets.

Both provinces have said they will have details on licensing early next year.

Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador announced Friday that it had signed a cannabis supply deal with Canopy Growth Corp., which will receive up to four licences to operate retail stores there.

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