Canada: Cannabis Retail Locations In Ontario: An Update

As of today's date, there have been no Cannabis Retail Store Authorizations issued.

There are currently thirteen of the twenty five Retail Store Authorization applications which have been submitted to the AGCO and are undergoing public notice, and more on the way. Members of the public may file an objection to a proposed application undergoing public notice within 15-days of that application being added to the list.

The only basis for an objection to any of these applications are matters of public interest, namely: (1) protecting public health and safety; (2) protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis; and (3) preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis.

The Applications undergoing public notice are for stores located in: Ajax, Brampton, Burlington, Kingston (2), London (2), Oshawa, Ottawa (2), Sudbury, and Toronto (2).


The proposed store location for Ajax, which will be operated as "Smok" was submitted for a location at 20 Kingston Road West in the Applecroft area. The application was submitted by an individual and no public details have been released about any partnerships.


In Brampton, the proposed location for "Ganjika House" is 186 Main Street South just around the corner from Brampton Mall. The application was submitted by an individual and no public details have been released about any partnerships between that individual and any larger players in the industry.


Similarly, no pubic details have been released with respect to the proposed store location for Burlington, which will be operated as "RELM Cannabis Co.". That application was submitted for a location at 4031 Fairview Street by an individual.


Kingston may be home to a Spirit Leaf Inc. location at 27 Princess Street in the well-known Smith Robinson Building downtown by the water. Spirit Leaf Inc., which is a subsidiary of Inner Spirit Holdings, has collaborated with the lottery winner through a brand licence and consulting arrangement. Through the agreement, Spirit Leaf will provide assistance with the store build-out, and license to the lottery winner its SOPs, well-known brand (which operates five locations across Alberta and Saskatchewan) and provide a training program. Included in the deal, licensed producer Up Cannabis has an arrangement to have an "experiential hub" be a part of the Kingston store.

Kingston's second application is under the name Brock Street Cannabis, just a few blocks away from the other proposed location in the busy downtown area.

The Alberta-based Fire and Flower team is behind the Brock Street Cannabis store. Fire and Flower currently operates retail cannabis and accessory stores in Alberta and Saskatchewan and has a wholesale cannabis supply business in Saskatchewan. Fire and Flower entered into an agreement with Brock Street Cannabis whereby it will provide staffing support, point of sale hardware, and consultation on how to run the storefront. In return, the lottery winners will pay consulting and licensing fees to Fire and Flower.

If both of these locations are approved, Kingston will house two of the five allocated East Region locations.


Despite the fact that the AGCO has stated that applicants will not receive licenses if over 9.9% is owned by a licensed producer or its affiliates, a Tweed branded store has been proposed in London and is slated to occupy a location in the White Oaks area. Ailmentation Couche-Tard, which operates Couche-Tard and Circle K convenience stores, established an agreement with this lottery winner and Canopy Growth. The store will operate under the Tweed banner pursuant to a trademark license agreement. The lottery winner will still maintain 100% ownership of the store. Couche-Tard's role will be to advise and assist in helping Tweed establish its retail presence in southwestern Ontario.


The proposed store location for Oshawa, which will be operated as "Fabulous Leaf" was submitted for a location at 575 Laval Drive in the Vanier area. The application was submitted by a company, Tripsetter Inc. Tripsetter Inc. is based out of Vaughan in the GTA. No public details have been released about any partnerships.


Ottawa's first proposed application was submitted by Byward Market Cannabis and the store is set to open at 129 York Street, appropriately in the City's Byward Market area.

The Fire and Flower team is also involved at this location. Similar to the Brock Street location in Kingston, Fire and Flower will provide staffing support, point of sale hardware, and consulting services to the Byward Market Cannabis team, and will charge consulting and licensing fees for those services.


In Sudbury, the proposed location for "Highlife" is 1299 Marcus Drive in a popular RioCan Centre The application was submitted by an individual and no public details have been released about any partnerships between that individual and any larger players in the industry.


The first application submitted for Toronto belongs to The Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. This proposed store location is at the corner of Queen Street West and St. Patrick Street (202 Queen Street West).

The second proposed store location submitted as Nova Cannabis will also be located on Queen Street West between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street (499 Queen Street West). Nova Cannabis is another familiar retailer, certainly to Albertans. Nova Cannabis is owned by Alcanna Inc., which is one of the largest private sector retailers of alcohol in North America owning and operating locations across Alberta and B.C. Alcanna has been operating Nova Cannabis locations in Alberta. Aurora Cannabis has a 25% stake in Alcanna.

The deal for this Nova Cannabis branded store made news last week. The winner of the lottery partnered up with Nova Cannabis to assist her in setting up her cannabis store. The deal is that the winner of the lottery has a licensing (not a franchising agreement) with Nova Cannabis, who will help her with the store's build-out. The lottery winner owns 100% of the store.

The 15 day notice period for two of the thirteen public notice Applications concludes today. The public notice period has already ended for two other locations - The Niagara Herbalist location in St. Catherines, and Ameri in the Yorkville area in Toronto.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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