Ontario outlines first 14 municipalities to sell legal cannabis
Your legal marijuana is soon coming to a store near you. The Ontario government announced today just where geographically Canadians will be able to purchase recreational marijuana once it becomes legal.
The legal pot retailers will be set up in 14 Ontario cities spread out across the province.
Included in the list from Eastern Ontario are Ottawa and Kingston
We now know the cities that will sell recreational marijuana. But we still don't know exactly where these stores will be. That's still to be determined and the Ontario government says-- the public will have a say in where they go.
For Andrew Bailey, it all comes down to two things: convenience and price. And that's why he and thousands of others frequent these illegal pot shops.
“This is very convenient, in your neighborhood,” says Andrew Bailey, as he heads into Cannabis Culture on Bank Street, “You just walk down the street go in, show them ID and get your stuff. You don't want to wait because weed is addictive right?”
The government's announcement today is just the first phase in introducing legal cannabis stores, popping up initially in 14 cities and 40 stores ready to roll, so to speak, when the feds legalize recreational marijuana next summer.
“Actually I’d shop anywhere where the price is good,” says one man going into Cannabis Culture, “That's going to be the determining factor, the lowest price point possible.”
And, so that has many in the industry wondering whether those 40 stores will make any dent in the black market.
Chuck Rifici is CEO and founder of Nesta Holding and helped created Canopy Growth Corporation, “The issue will come down to access and how consumers want to access products and only having 14 locations initially and even by 2020, just having a fraction of amount of locations for cannabis compared to the number of locations that sell alcohol will create more pressure for online services,” he says, “I think the online portion of Ontario’s cannabis control services will be key. If it is not a good experience, there are a lot of online dispensers that you don't see, that are flourishing.”
Unlike the illegal operations where the public has no say in where they're set up, the selection for the legal sites will involve public consultation. The sites will be posted on line and the public can comment before the site is confirmed.
The other big unknown is whether the supply will be enough to meet the ever-growing demand.
So licensed producers like Hydropothecary in the Gatineau area are scrambling to grow their capacity to meet that demand.
“Today Hydropothecary is building another 250,000 square foot facility to help us get to 25 tons of safe and legal production for July 1st,” says Sébastien St-Louis, the President and CEO of Hydropothecary.
Still, those buying illegal marijuana and those selling it aren't too concerned their businesses are going to go bust.
“People still love it,” says Taryn Morrison with Cannabis Culture, “They’re not happy with the ideas of how (these new stores) will package it or sell it, like how we're doing it. So, I don't see them going into those stores and buying it that way.”
This announcement comes just a couple of days after Ontario's Attorney General introduced the Cannabis Act. That paves the way for 150 stand-alone stores by 2020. Which many say still won't fill the need.