Toronto’s first ever legal cannabis store will open its doors to the public Monday morning, with four more set to open in the near future.
These five stores are part of the 25 retail stores across Ontario that won a lottery to enter the licensing approval process, as set out by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
The first, and only, applicant to complete the process ahead of the set April 1 deadline was The Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. It will begin accepting customers at its 3,500-square-foot Queen Street W. location 9 a.m. Monday.
A second applicant, Ameri on Cumberland Street in Yorkville, completed the approval process this weekend, though construction crews could still be seen on site Friday afternoon (March 29) with no signs of an imminent opening.
Nova Cannabis, also on Queen Street W., Canna Cabana on Yonge at Carlton and Tokyo Smoke next door to Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre are still in the public notice period or awaiting final approval.
The delays could cost these businesses their early investment.
Applicants with retail store authorization who are “not selling cannabis” by Monday will face fines, according to the AGCO. Lottery winners were required to put down a $50,000 line of credit and pay a one-time $6,000 application fee. An additional $12,500 will be drawn from the line of credit on April 1 and again on April 15 if the store is still not open.
If a store remains closed by April 30, the final $25,000 will be taken.
But with progress being made at most locations, it seems to be a matter of when, not if, they will all be open for business.
Although some people have expressed concern about how these cannabis stores will affect their surrounding areas, others are less hesitant to welcome the new neighbours.
Enya Bergeron, a hostess at The Pilot restaurant next to Ameri’s designated location in Yorkville, has past experience with the clientele that a cannabis retailer could draw.
“Honestly, I don’t think the area is going to change at all because we had an illegal cannabis store open there just recently and things were fine,” she told the Ryersonian. “It’s just the same old thing — but legal.”
Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi says education is the only thing the university can control with Tokyo Smoke opening so close to campus. They’re currently doing this through the cannabis on campus online mini-site.
“Being located in this area of the city, which is the busiest intersection of course in our country, we have and will continue to have very diverse neighborhoods and businesses in the area,” he said. “It’s not our decision to work with them or not; we are part of a big community. However, we trust that our students will make responsible choices and informed decisions regarding consumption of cannabis.”
Explore the StoryMap below to find out the closest legal cannabis stores set to open near Ryerson.