Thursday , June 24 2021

The applicant aims to make London one of Ontario's top 25 stores



This square in the northwest corner of Wonderland Road and Oxford Street can be home to a cannabis shop in London. (Derek Ruttan / The London Press)

One of the seven regional winners of the Bull Lottery is planning to open a store in London's northwestern square.

Christopher Cory revealed on Tuesday a statement to the Alcohol and Games Commission in Ontario (AGCO), the provincial regulatory commission, that he wants to open a recreational marijuana shop in the 666 Wonderland Rd shopping mall.

This means that London is on the brink of landing one of the top 25 cannabis dealers in Ontario when brick and mining stores can be opened at provincial stores.

The potential potshop is good news for London, says one of the local cannabis activists, but one single market is hardly enough to serve a city of nearly 400,000 people, as well as residents of the surrounding municipalities of Southwest Ontario.

"Of course, this is a pleasant surprise, but it still does not change the strangeness of the way legalization of cannabis has been embedded in Ontario," said Eric Shepard, a longtime marijuana lawyer.

"It's not even close enough." The black market, of course, will continue to flourish. "

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Plaza, north of Oxford Street, where Comrie offers to open its store, has two vacancies where a pair of restaurants, Oarhouse and McGinnis Landing, work before closing last year.

AGCO distributes seven of the top 25 licenses in the western region, an extensive area stretching from Windsor to Waterloo to Niagara and includes London.

Progressive Conservatives of Prime Minister Doug Ford initially promised to grant unlimited retail licenses when stores are allowed to open on April 1 but the government has changed its facilities in December and announced that only 25 licenses will be granted through a lottery.

AGCO received more than 12 000 applications to open stores in the western region. Comrie is one of six individuals and a numbered company to be elected on January 11.

The Comrie store, which will be called Central Cannabis, and the other winners of the lottery are already under the gun to open their doors by April 1st.

Operators must apply for a retail license with detailed details on the delivery and release times of the cannabis shop. They will be subject to prior checking, which includes verification of tax records and financial statements. The 25 winners also have to file a $ 50,000 letter of credit and pay a non-refundable $ 6,000 fee. of AGCO.

If candidates do not pass AGCO check, the province will become a waiting list. Retailers who fail to open by April 1 will be fined $ 12,500, while those who are not yet in business at the end of the month receive $ 50,000.

Shepperd was critical of the location of the only legitimate retailer in London, saying he should be closer to the core.

"People will find it hard to get there," he said, adding that he expects the proposed massive lines and supply shortages in the proposed store.

"There will be no change in the status quo except there will be a legal opportunity that most people will not use."

Municipalities have no say where cannabis traders are. AGCO requires only businesses to be more than 150 meters away from schools.

London politicians and the public have until 26 February to raise any concerns about the proposed Cannabis site at AGCO.

"This is the only time they have some input in the location process," says lawyer Trina Fraser, who advises the cannabis industry.

But the 15-day period for raising objections is not time for the public to issue complaints about cannabis dealers, Fraser said, noting that only legitimate concerns about the proposed sites would be addressed.

"If no one opposes, I think it's almost a deal that these places will be approved," she said for the seven applications so far.

There are only two other winners in the Western Lottery. The Nalagarist painter Niagara has applied for a shop in St. Louis. Catharines, while High Tide on Monday announced its intention to open one at Hamilton.

High Tide, a brand of cannabis and lifestyle accessories, says she has partnered with one of the winners in the lottery – not saying who – to open the retail store.

A Hamilton consultant previously told Postmedia that at least four of the seven lottery winners planned to build a Hamilton shop.

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