Former Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day urges leaders to support cannabis entrepreneurs on First Nations

A former Ontario Regional Chief is putting out a new magazine that he hopes clarifies jurisdictional issues around cannabis legalization and First Nations.

Isadore Day is CEO of a company called Bimaadzwin that focuses on Indigenous nationhood.

The new online publication, called Growth and Prosperity, seems to reflect his optimism about the potential role of retail cannabis sales in Indigenous communities.

Day says the publication will work as a reference that covers areas left blank by governments that failed to include First Nations in designing a retail system to sell legal cannabis.


London cannabis company says it will franchise if it doesn't win retail pot license lottery

A London, Ont.-based cannabis company says it's ready to franchise if it isn't lucky enough to get its hands on one of 25 private pot retail licences that will be awarded by lottery by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. 

The AGCO began to accept expressions of interest on its website at 12:01 a.m. Monday and will be taking submissions until noon on Wednesday. 

The draw for 25 licences will take place on Friday, with the results expected to be published by the AGCO within 24 hours. 

The lottery will be conducted using software that has been independently verified by accounting and auditing firm KPMG and a gambling research lab in the United States. 


Canada: Former black market dealers, established cannabis retailers gearing up for Ontario lottery

A host of applicants — from former grey market dealers to cannabis culture enthusiasts to established cannabis retailers with operations in other provinces — are hoping to get lucky this week as Ontario holds a lottery to determine who will be awarded the province’s highly coveted first tranche of 25 cannabis retail licences.

“I can tell you, for people like us who have been operating in the cannabis community for decades now, this lottery system is great. It doesn’t discriminate,” said one former Toronto-based dispensary owner, who declined to be named. “I’ve followed all the rules — I shut down my online dispensary on Oct. 16, and I’ve been talking to retailers in other sectors who are interested in partnering up with me if I get a licence.”


Ontario cannabis retail hopefuls can enter lottery next week

Those interested in opening a cannabis retail store in Ontario will have the chance to enter a lottery early next week to receive one of the first 25 retail licenses for the province.

When the Progressive Conservative (PC) government took leadership of the province in October, they decided to switch the Liberal’s plan of having only government-run retail locations to having privately owned shops as well. As such, no stores were opened for legalization in October so for now, the only way to purchase legal cannabis in Ontario is online through the provincially-run Ontario Cannabis Store.


One Indigenous reserve bans Ontario Cannabis Store deliveries, others consider it

A northern Ontario Indigenous community has become the first to ban the province’s monopoly pot delivery service from its territory, a move that at least one Southwestern Ontario First Nation – maybe more – is looking to follow.

In Southwestern Ontario, where illegal marijuana stores have proliferated in the past year, Indigenous leaders have voiced concerns about the fallout from legalized marijuana, but none has completed the required steps under Ontario’s new marijuana law to ban the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) from delivering to their communities.

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, a community 580 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, became the first to do so last week, according to the OCS.


Ontario to only allow 25 cannabis stores at launch

The provincial government will only be licencing 25 stores to sell cannabis products when the veil is lifted on retail outlets in April, citing ongoing supply issues as the cause for the limit. 

On December 13, Attorney General Caroline Mulroney and Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli released the following statement on changes being made to the licensing process for recreational retail cannabis stores in Ontario: “It is the federal government’s responsibility to oversee cannabis production and to provide a viable alternative to the illegal market by ensuring there is sufficient supply to meet consumer demand. Yet, we continue to see severe supply shortages across the country in legal, licenced recreational cannabis stores.”


Ontario will limit number of dispensaries allowed within the province

In an about-face from earlier positions, provincial lawmakers in Ontario today announced that it will place a limit on the number of private dispensaries that will be allowed to open in the province. Initially, Ontario planned for a gradual rollout of recreational retail without any limits on the number of private dispensaries. But in an announcement today, lawmakers said they will now cap private dispensaries at 25.

A Change in Policy

Provincial authorities announced the policy change in a statement issued earlier today. In the statement, they said that Ontario will now adopt a “phased approach” in which only a set number of private weed shops will receive licenses.


Canada: Toronto and Ottawa vote to allow retail cannabis stores

Councillors in Toronto have voted to allow retail pot shops in Canada's most populous city.

Councillors voted 20-4 Thursday evening to allow privately run cannabis stores to operate in Toronto.

The decision came on the same day councillors in Ottawa voted to allow pot shops to open in the nation's capital, and a day after councillors in Markham and Mississauga voted not to.

The Progressive Conservative government has given communities in Ontario until Jan. 22 to decide whether they want to opt out of hosting the stores, which are set to open starting in April.

Currently, a government-run online store is the only way to purchase recreational pot in the province.


Canada: Ontario cities already opting out of cannabis retail stores

The Ontario provincial government has given municipalities until January 22 to decide if they will host cannabis retail shops and some major cities in the Greater Tortonto Area have already made the decision to opt out.

Both Mississauga and Markham decided Wednesday that the cities will not allow for their communities to have retail locations which are expected to begin opening across the province in April. In both cases, the city councils felt there are too many variables and issues that need to be addressed before stores should be allowed to open.

The Mississauga council decided “no” to cannabis stores with a 10-2 vote.  


Canada: Toronto mayor wants more municipal control over retail cannabis shops

The Mayor of Toronto John Tory wants the Province of Ontario to give more agency to municipalities in deciding where retail cannabis stores can be located.

Ultimately, Tory’s concern is the safety of residents and particularly children, especially in the City of Toronto. He still believes retail locations should be made available but thinks that cities should have more of a say in where they can be located within their respective communities.


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