What started as a passion has turned into a successful cannabis business for Zachary Lacelle, owner/operator of Northern Zen Cannabis. In 2019, he won the provincial licence lottery to become one of eight First Nations cannabis stores to be granted authorization by the Ontario government. Zachary opened his doors in 2020 and is proud to celebrate a successful first year in business.
Built on Years of Hard Work
Zachary worked for years to realize his dream of becoming a part of the cannabis industry. He persevered to get Northern Zen Cannabis where it is today. As a contractor by trade, Zachary even built his store himself. He explains, “I worked very hard to stand here today. I built this store from the ground up with no outside contractors and with the help of my father and uncle when needed.”
While Zachary is very proud of his accomplishments, he is also grateful for the support that he has received. “Nipissing First Nation helped me with schooling for my Cannabis Quality Assurance Certificate and without their majority vote I would not have been able to operate my store here,” he says.
Zachary is also very appreciative of the support he received from Employment and Training Manager, Thomas Lambert. “Without his help, not only for my business and training, but also for referring me to the housing program here on Nipissing, I might not have been here.”
Above all, Zachary is thankful for his loyal clientele. “Without anyone walking in the door it doesn’t open. So thank you to my customers for the support over the last year. We hope to serve you again!”
Thriving Cannabis Store
All of the effort that went into starting Northern Zen Cannabis was worth it. Zachary is now the proud owner and operator of a thriving cannabis store that offers the highest level of service. They carry cannabis flowers, pre rolls, vaporizers, concentrates, edibles, topicals, seeds and a wide range of accessories.
Being a store owner is a new challenge for Zachary, but one that he is enjoying. “Meeting new people and explaining products is a very new experience for me as I have worked mostly construction type jobs all my life,” he says.
Future of the Industry
Zachary is keeping a close eye on the cannabis industry. “Honestly, I’m still watching the market evolve and I hope to see more craft come into the industry so we can support the small growers,” he says. “I really enjoy that the stigma around cannabis is slowly going away and its being treated the way I believe it should have been for years.”