The Roll-Out of Cannabis Stores across Canada: Social Media Response to Government Policy

Authors: Joseph Aversa*, Ryerson University, Tony Hernandez, Ryerson University, Jenna Jacobson, Ryerson University, Stephanie Dizonno, Ryerson University, Michael MacDonald, Ryerson University
Topics: Business Geography, Canada, Marketing Geography
Keywords: Social Media Analytics, Cannabis Legalization, Retail Location Decision-Making
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Plaza Court 6, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


With Canada becoming the first of the G20 countries to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, there has been increasing interest in the emergence of this new retail market. Media attention has mostly focused on the rules and regulations that will govern the provincial licensing and roll-out of cannabis stores across Canada. However, there has been limited research focusing on Canadian’s response to the cannabis legalization policy at the provincial level. This paper utilizes social media analytics to investigate tweets sent from and to a group of selected provincial entities that oversee cannabis retailing. The research is divided into four stages: (i) themes are identified from the tweets to capture the provincial messaging regarding cannabis legalization and roll-out; (ii) tweets directly from the general public along with responses to provincial government tweets are evaluated and classified; (iii) both government messaging and public opinion are analyzed for differences across the provinces; and, (iv) the locational implications for the ongoing and future roll-out of the cannabis marketplace are discussed.

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