Ontario delivers yet another cannabis decision that hurts retailers and helps illegal dealers

Recently, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) stated legal cannabis shops in the province will be prohibited from offering online retail options to consumers. This means that the initial 25 cannabis stores in Ontario and the multitude of stores that could open once the province lifts its temporary cap on retail licences won’t be able to offer consumers online ordering for store pickup (click and collect). Nor will they be able to offer any same-day delivery services.


The tiny Canadian town that marijuana saved

Like so many small towns in the U.S. during the recession, Smiths Falls, Ontario hit rock bottom in 2008.

Three factories shut down in the small Canadian town, including the country's largest Hershey's factory.

“It was a five-year period there where it was hard to find any good news,” said Smiths Falls Mayor Shawn Pankow as he watched 1,500 jobs leave.

“Smiths Falls was basically on life support,” said Jamie Norris, a tow-truck driver and lifelong resident. “People were losing their houses and losing their vehicles.”

Who knew this town's lowest of lows would be remedied by getting high.

Canopy Growth Corporation, a medical marijuana startup in 2013, was looking for a place to spark its business. 


How will Ontario's cannabis shops work? Here's what's coming to a corner near you

Here’s a safe prediction about the design of Ottawa’s first legal cannabis shop: It will resemble a trendy boutique.

The landlord of Superette, the proposed shop in the heart of Wellington West Village, describes it as “high-end retail.”

After all, the middle-income and affluent residents in the neighbourhood are the store’s target demographic, says Derek Noble, owner of Huntington Property Group, which owns the five-storey building at 1306 Wellington St. West, between Island Park Drive and Holland Avenue.

His company was able to extract premium rent from Superette Inc. for a five-year lease on the 3,371-square-foot space on the ground floor.


Companies backed by major cannabis producers are inking deals with Ontario retail lottery winners

A number of cannabis retailers backed by major licensed producers have entered into agreements with winners of Ontario’s  retail lottery in an attempt to gain access to Canada’s largest market come April 1, when 25 brick-and-mortar cannabis stores are expected to open across the province.

But the nature of those agreements, and whether or not they will survive regulatory scrutiny, remains unclear.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) — the provincial body in charge of regulating cannabis retail in Ontario — has laid out strict ownership rules that bar the 25 individual lottery winners from entering into any kind of revenue-sharing agreements with outside entities that would result in the winners ceding control of their cannabis stores.


Cannabis retail shops are scrambling to open on time across Ontario

Would-be cannabis shop owners in Ontario have just a few weeks left to pass through intense regulatory hoops if they hope to be selling marijuana by April.

Most likely some of them will be unable to open in time to meet the government deadline, industry insiders say. With just a month and a half to go, only eight proposed shops across the province have submitted their retail store applications.

Ontario wants the first wave of cannabis retail stores to open by April 1, if retail licence holders fail to meet this deadline they will be met with stiff financial penalties.  (Mark Thiessen / The Associated Press)


High Tide signs letter of intent with second Ontario pot store lottery winner

High Tide Inc. has signed a letter of intent to assist a second lottery winner selected to apply for one of the first 25 cannabis retail licences in Ontario.

The cannabis retailer did not disclose the lottery winner, but said High Tide has signed a letter of intent to help open a legal recreational weed store at a potential location in Hamilton.

A spokesman for the Alberta-based company says the arrangement is similar to a deal it struck with another lottery winner announced earlier this month that, subject to regulatory approval, involves the acquisition of a minority interest and a financial incentive for its assistance.


Canadian cannabis shortages expected to last years

Cannabis retailers across Canada have struggled to supply consumers with product since the country legalized recreational cannabis five months ago, and industry experts say that this trend is likely to last for a few years.

George Robinson who runs RavenQuest, a cannabis biomed firm, told sources that supply shortages are expected to last at least five years.

“We’re absolutely not getting anywhere close to the (needed) supply,” said Robinson. He added that approximately 5 million kilograms are needed to satisfy the demand for recreational cannabis across the country. Suppliers are currently growing less than 10 percent of that amount. Therefore, there simply isn’t enough cannabis being distributed to retailers.


Please sell responsibly: Ontario launches cannabis retail training

Created by the cannabis resource company Lift & Co. and MADD Canada, the program was announced this week by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as the sole certification program for all store employees.

“By law everyone that touches cannabis (in) retail essentially has to have this course,” said Lift and Co. head Matei Olaru.

“CannSell is meant to educate cannabis retail employees on the responsible sale of cannabis and their legal and regulatory obligations,” Olaru said.

The $49.99 (plus tax) course will be offered starting Feb. 25 and will have to graduate its first class in time for the scheduled April 1 opening of Ontario’s 25 initial brick-and-mortar shops.


Locations of Ontario's first proposed pot stores released

A 15-day public notice period is underway for three proposed cannabis retail outlets in the Golden Horseshoe, including one proposed for the posh Yorkville area of Toronto.

Ameri is proposing to open at 20 Cumberland Street, Ganjika House would be on 106 Main Street South in Brampton, and The Niagara Herbalist would be located at 33 Lakeshore Road in St. Catharines.


The Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) said in a statement Wednesday that the stores, if approved, would represent one of five allocated to the Toronto Region, one of six slated for the GTA Region, and one of seven in the west region.


Canadian cannabis producer uses fish waste to fertilize crops

A Canadian producer based in Ontario is using a unique method of fertilizing their crops that seems a little fishy.

Green Relief, located in Puslinch, Ontario, operates an aquaponics farm that uses filtered fish waste to fertilize their crops. In turn, the crops clean the water for the fish.

The facility is entirely underground with the exception of the ventilation equipment that sticks out of the ground. Green Relief says they are currently the only producer using aquaponics for marijuana production.


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