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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.


Ontario says no click-and-collect pot purchase from private retailers

The Ontario cannabis retail regulator says private pot retailers will not be able to offer a click-and-collect service that would allow consumers to buy online and pick it up at the physical store.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says cannabis customers will have to order and purchase pot products in person at licensed recreational pot stores.

The AGCO reiterated in a posting outlining frequently asked questions today that the Ontario Cannabis Store continues to be the only legal e-commerce portal for buying adult-use pot.

So-called click-and-collect services have been increasingly offered by retailers over the years, and is an option when buying alcohol online from the province's distributor, the LCBO.


Ontario course first to embrace cannabis

Come April, there’s likely to be a lot more grass at the Lombard Glen Golf & Country Club.

The course, located in Smiths Falls, Ont., is set to become Canada’s first cannabis-friendly golf facility. In fact, when it does open, it will do so with a new name – Rolling Greens.


The jokes have been flying fast since Gordon Weiske and his partners purchased the 160-acre layout from longtime owners Dave and Jean Sherman, with plans to gain traction in the cannabis tourism market.

For instance, a local media outlet suggested that instead of yelling “Fore” after an errant shot, players might now yell “Fore-20,” a shout-out to April 20, known among pot smokers as a celebratory date.


Ontario Cannabis same-day delivery could be a logistical nightmare

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp. (OCRC) posted a tender call last week for couriers so that they can offer same-day delivery.

According to the OCRC, the program is supposed to launch in early March and will be focused on the Greater Toronto Area to start.

“As OCRC’S marketplace evolves, the ability for the organization to provide a variety of delivery options to meet customers’ expectations is imperative to the growth of its e-commerce business. Accordingly, the OCRC is looking to add expedited/same-day home delivery service,” says the tender call that was posted online.

But in wake of the announcement, some are concerned that this could prove to be a difficult undertaking.


Parents say talking to their kids about cannabis has changed post-legalization

Parents are changing the way they talk to their kids about cannabis post-legalization as weed has become a more visible part of daily life across the country.

Ashleigh Brown, founder of SheCann, which allows Canadian women to share their experiences using medical cannabis, said talking to kids about marijuana shouldn’t be a one-time “talk” — it should be a continuous dialogue.

“Kids are smart and they’re watching everything and everyone,” Brown told an audience at a “Women & Weed” event in Toronto on Saturday. “The conversations should be about authenticity and honesty.”


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