Canada’s first high-end cannabis lounge opens in Toronto early 2020

Shauna Levy, former Design Exchange CEO and president, is bringing her design experience to Toronto’s first high-end cannabis lounge.

The lounge, byMinistry, the first major project from MoCanna, a Canadian cannabis company, is an 8,000-sq.-ft. space slated to open at 850 Adelaide St. W., Toronto in early 2020, byMinistry CEO Levy told The GrowthOp.


Ontario: Second pot lottery closes, fewer applicants expected

Cities and towns in Southwestern Ontario will soon find out whether they’ll be home to the any of the second wave of cannabis retail stores opening in the fall.

Applicants vying for a shot at one of 42 marijuana retail licences had until Friday to submit an application to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the province’s pot regulator, with the winners to be announced on Aug. 20.

But one leading cannabis lawyer says the financial requirements placed on applicants may be problematic, because many financial institutions remain skeptical of the marijuana industry.


Ontario’s cannabis retail lottery system stacked against small and legacy players hoping to go legit

It’s time for the Ontario government to take another look at its objectives for the cannabis retail market, Toronto-based cannabis lawyer Caryma Sa’d argues.

In an interview on CTV’s Your Morning Monday, Sa’d suggested the current lottery framework excludes many small cultivators from entering the legal market, thereby causing them to seek other options, including illegal dispensaries.


Cop Blocked: Concrete blocks no barrier to illegal dispensary owners

The city’s latest strategy to permanently shutter black market pot dispensaries has, quite literally, been pushed aside.

Their entrances sealed with 2,000 kilogram concrete blocks following raids by police and bylaw officers, one CAFE dispensary location was back in business Thursday afternoon after heavy-duty forklifts were used to move aside the slabs.

Pry bars sit in the forks of a hired telecarrier forklift outside the CAFE pot shop on Bloor St. W. on Thursday, July 18 2019

On Wednesday, a CAFE Dispensary on Fort York Blvd. was shut down, the storefront sealed with concrete blocks.


Ontario's slow rollout of weed outlets could help black market

Ontario has blamed a shortage of legal cannabis from the federal government for its slow rollout of retail outlets, a claim dismissed by the federal government and regulatory bodies from other provinces, raising prospects the black market for weed may thrive longer in Canada’s most populous province.

Canada became the first G7 country to legalize recreational marijuana in October 2018 but sales have been dampened by supply constraints and prices that are higher than those on the black market.

While the provinces can set their own cannabis guidelines, a provincially run distributor purchases the cannabis from federally licensed producers, and then allocates it to retail locations approved by the province.


Ontario plans to have 50 more cannabis stores this fall

Ontario residents can look forward to having 50 more cannabis retail storefronts this fall following the rollout of storefronts earlier in April.

The province announced on Wednesday that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will hold another lottery in August for applicants to obtain one of 42 licenses. Another eight will be distributed to various native reservations through a separate process.

The news comes even though there are still some of the first retail license holders who have not opened their stores yet. The applications process this time will be much more detailed to ensure that those who get a license are ready to open by October.  


Ontario to issue 50 new pot shop licences under new vetting process

Ontario will issue 50 new cannabis retail licences this year, a move aimed at expanding legal pot sales in the country's largest marijuana market while helping to stamp out the illicit industry, the provincial government announced Wednesday. 

The province plans to issue 42 new licences for private-sector retailers who successfully pre-qualify to be part of a new lottery system later this month. The remaining eight licences will be allocated for outlets in First Nations communities. 


After months of struggling, Toronto has closed over 85% of illicit pot shops

There's more good news for Ontario's legal weed business, as provincial officials report a huge decrease in the number of illicit dispensaries, writes Calvin Hughes.

Police in the city are now investigating only nine unlicensed cannabis stores, said Toronto Director of Investigation Services with Municipal Licensing and Standards Mike Sraga.


Ontario ombudsman says Ontario Cannabis Store received most complaints this year

Ontario’s ombudsman, Paul Dube, released his annual report earlier this week in which they stated the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) received the most complaints of any organization throughout their fiscal year.

The report says that more than 2,400 Ontario residents complained about the Ontario Cannabis Store, which from October until April was the only legal way to purchase recreational cannabis in the province. The ombudsman office had to dedicate a team to deal solely with cannabis complaints simply because there were so many.

One of such complaints was from a man who was told by the Ontario Cannabis Store that in order to receive a refund for a purchase, he would have to return an empty box with a shipping label.  


Opening of retail stores more than doubled Ontario's recreational cannabis sales

The opening of brick-and-mortar retail locations has significantly boosted Ontario’s licensed cannabis sales, according to data released by Statistics Canada.


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