On March 8, 2022, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) shut down its online website for cannabis consumers. This allowed Alberta's private cannabis retailers to legally sell products online and provide cannabis delivery services in the province. Sales have been booming, but retailers have had to navigate various regulatory requirements to ensure compliance with strict online age-gating and other measures.
Edmonton-based Daikoku was one of the first cannabis dispensaries in Alberta to be endorsed by the AGLC for online and delivery sales. With the help of Cova and our E-commerce partner, Dabber, they kicked off cannabis E-commerce sales much before other cannabis stores in the province. We recently met up with Mireille Tessier, founder of Daikoku, to learn more about her cannabis entrepreneurial journey and why she chose Cova as Daikoku’s cannabis technology partner.
Cannabis Legalization in Canada: From Quebec to Alberta
A chef by education and professional background, Mireille has always been very passionate about cannabis and dreamt about opening an Amsterdam cafe-style cannabis store in Canada. When Canada legalized recreational cannabis in 2018 and Quebec decided not to privatize it but incorporate a crown corporation to operate provincially-owned cannabis stores, Mireille and her husband decided to sell everything they owned in Montreal and moved to Edmonton to start their entrepreneurial journey in the budding cannabis retail industry. They chose the name Daikoku, the Japanese god of wealth and fortune, to imbibe its spirit by sharing their wealth of knowledge about cannabis and facilitating great experiences for their customers.
“People don’t go to a cannabis store to buy weed, they go there for an experience. At Daikoku, we strive to provide the experience our customers seek”, says Mireille.
The Search for a Compliant Cannabis POS System in Alberta
Although Daikoku’s team started operations in late 2018 by selling cannabis accessories at their store, they officially started selling cannabis products only by May 2019 due to Alberta’s regulation delays. To add to these initial obstacles, their first choice of cannabis POS was quite a disappointment with frequent POS system crashes and no customer support system. They also tried using a generic POS system but soon realized that they couldn't generate compliance reports for the AGLC. After switching to Cova POS over two years ago, it has been smooth sailing for Mireille and the team at Daikoku.
“Whenever the AGLC launches a new compliance report, Cova is already on top of it and pivots quickly to have things ready for us much before time. I don’t even have to ask”, mentions Mireille about Cova’s compliance capabilities.
Navigating Cannabis E-commerce and Delivery Regulations
With Alberta’s stringent age-gating measures for online cannabis stores, a simple self-declared age system used by many retailers in other provinces is illegal and consumers have to usually get their IDs verified in-store before they can even browse cannabis products online. When Alberta decided to allow private retailers to sell cannabis online earlier this year, very few cannabis E-commerce platforms were able to provide a proper solution that met all compliance requirements set by the AGLC. This was especially challenging because retailers are also mandated to host their cannabis E-commerce store on their own domain and can not use a third-party marketplace. Dabber was able to come forth with the perfect cannabis E-commerce solution for Daikoku, and Mireille was impressed with the flawlessness of the system and how the team was able to get their store online in no time. Many Alberta retailers are conducting cannabis deliveries without a valid age-gate solution on their website, putting themselves at various compliance risks, but Daikoku has fortified itself for the future.
“What I love about Dabber’s team is that they always have intelligent solutions, whether it's about leveraging cannabis SEO, or just ensuring that we stay ahead of any changes in regulations”, says Mireille.
Cova’s Impeccable Customer Support & Tech Ecosystem
In over 2 years with Cova, one thing that has stood out for Mireille is our incredible customer support team that has always been there for Daikoku in times of need to sort out any troubleshooting issues or train the team on any new features. Also, Cova’s seamless E-commerce integration with Dabber has allowed Daikoku to streamline its online sales quickly and manage inventory efficiently while being able to display relevant product information and appropriate branding on its online cannabis store. Other advanced features like Cova’s offline mode, open APIs to configure easily with other cannabis tech ecosystem solutions, and customized reporting for their business have truly won them over.
“In our time with Cova, we have changed our digital menu provider thrice, but Cova’s POS has always integrated seamlessly with every one of the solutions. Cova’s partnerships with various other cannabis tech solutions help us plug and play as we want”, mentions Mireille.
Curating an Elevated Customer Experience with the Right Partners
From realizing a lifelong dream of being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry to delivering legal cannabis to customers’ doorsteps, Mireille has come a long way, as she works on her next big project of elevating the customer experience even further by introducing a cannabis subscription model at Daikoku. And she is confident that she has the right technology partners to help her curate a unique cannabis consumer experience at Daikoku.
“Cova has been my longest-lasting tech partner and I truly value the relationship we have built. No other cannabis technology company stays ahead of the curve as Cova does”, declares Mireille.
With constantly changing laws and regulations in the dynamic legal cannabis industry, it’s necessary to have a technology partner that can pivot quickly and provide you with a compliant solution to help you grow your cannabis business. Cova and our ever-expanding partner tech ecosystem allow you to do that and much more. Click below to learn more.