A chain of cannabis stores part owned by former president Vicente Fox is pursuing an aggressive expansion strategy: it intends to open 130 additional outlets by the end of the year.
Paradise, which sells products such as CBD (cannabidiol) oil, hemp oil, bongs, pipes, marijuana grinders and papers, currently has about 70 stores in 28 states, according to operations chief César Escalante.
He told the newspaper El Universal that the chain’s goal is to have 200 stores across all 32 states by the end of the year. One location where a new store is set to open soon is San Luis Potosí city.
Among the cities where Paradise already has stores are Monterrey – where the company was founded, Mexico City, Ciudad Juárez, Saltillo, Mazatlán, Culiacán, Aguascalientes, Pachuca, Tijuana, Guadalajara, Playa del Carmen and Querétaro.
Fox, president from 2000 to 2006 and an outspoken supporter of marijuana legalization, is not the only high-profile investor in Paradise. Actor Roberto Palazuelos, a telenovela (soap opera) star, is also a partner in the company founded by Fernando Carcamo, Fernando Espinobarros and Guillermo Palau.
In a video on the Paradise website, Fox extends an invitation to “bold and dynamic entrepreneurs” to consider opening a Paradise franchise.
“Paradise’s idea is to share the business with many of you throughout the Mexican republic, providing and granting franchises – franchises that you can have, that you can operate and in which you will have high returns for your investment,” said the former National Action Party president, who also sits on the board of a Canadian medical marijuana company that operates in Colombia.
The chain appears to be well-placed to sell marijuana buds once the recreational use of the drug is legalized, something which is expected to occur later this year.
However, Paradise’s main focus is currently on the growing market for CBD products. Escalante said the chain’s aim is for all Mexicans to be aware of their benefits.
According to a 2019 New York Times explainer, “CBD is advertised as providing relief for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder” and is also marketed to promote sleep.
The newspaper described CBD as “the lesser-known child of the cannabis sativa plant,” adding that “its more famous sibling, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active ingredient in pot that catapults users’ ‘high.’”
Part of CBD’s popularity, the Times said, is that it “purports to be ‘nonpsychoactive,’ and that consumers can reap health benefits from the plant without the high (or the midnight pizza munchies).”
With reports from El Universal