City of Calgary receives hundreds of applications from people wanting to open cannabis retail stores

City of Calgary receives hundreds of applications for cannabis retail stores
WATCH: The City of Calgary received hundreds of cannabis store applications within the first few hours the process was open on Tuesday. But not everyone hoping to open a business is able to apply right now. Lisa MacGregor reports.

The City of Calgary started accepting cannabis retail store applications as of Tuesday morning and within hours, hundreds of applications had already been submitted.

Prospective cannabis business owner Michelle Laforce is still hunting for a location. She has to lock down a location before she can apply.

“The trouble right now is looking for a location and the lack of landlords willing to accept cannabis as an option for a store,” Laforce said.

The potential store locations Laforce is finding that are open to cannabis are in high demand or are getting scooped up by large companies.

“I’m just an independent. So it’s more difficult for me because people don’t know who I am yet,” Laforce said.

READ MORE: Cannabis supporters mark 4/20 days before Calgary accepts marijuana business applications

A lot of companies around Calgary, like New Leaf, have already started construction on their locations, giving people in the community an early look before Canada legalizes the sale and use of recreational marijuana.

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The City of Calgary says there is no guarantee for any potential business.

“There is a review process. The cannabis store is a discretionary use, so there is an appeal period where communities and the applicant can appeal the decision that is made,” said Brandy MacInnes with the City of Calgary. “Once we know the date, which we’re anticipating in June, we’ll be able to start approving applications.”

READ MORE: 87 applications received so far for Alberta cannabis retail stores

Cannabis stores must be separated by at least 300 metres and be 150-metres away from schools. They also can’t be next to a liquor store.

Calgary Co-op confirmed to Global News that they have submitted applications to sell cannabis on their properties at multiple locations while following the city’s regulations.

Jason Kim, owner of Evolution Vape, says he thinks the cannabis retail high will wear off, just like the vaping industry.

“Four years ago when we first opened our shop, we were shop No. 16 and now I believe there’s somewhere around 45 to 50 shops in this city. It’s not super lucrative like it used to be,” Kim said. “Four-thousands-three-hundred dollars just to apply [to AGLC], that blew my mind. I thought, ‘No, I don’t want to do that.'”

But Laforce is optimistic.

“I just think that this is very lucrative. I feel like a lot of people will be more willing to at least try cannabis for their health issues,” she said.

By Tuesday afternoon, the City of Calgary had already received more than 226 applications. A total of 199 of the 226 applications were completed online.

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Recreational cannabis use is expected to become legal in mid-August or September.

Next Monday, Business Link is hosting an event to educate recreational marijuana entrepreneurs about how to get into the cannabis retail business.