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Cannabis

Chances for Kingston cannabis store dwindle after Ford announces 25 stores in Ontario

On the heels of Ontario's announcement that only 25 cannabis store licenses will be granted for April 1, a Kingston woman is worried an investment into her own storefront may go up in smoke.

A local head shop owner’s plans to sell cannabis from a new storefront in Kingston’s west-end may have taken a hit.

Thursday, the province announced that only 25 licenses will be granted across Ontario, allowing local stores to sell cannabis by April 1, citing worries about supply.

“Are we surprised by the content of the announcement? No,” Jennawae McLean said. “We have been calling this since legalization was announced that there would be a shortage of cannabis.”

READ MORE: Man ticketed for buying cannabis from unlicensed Tyendinaga pot shop: OPP

McLean has always worried her new store may not be successful. But she now has two reasons for it’s potential failure. The first being whether the city of Kingston decides to ask for one of the 25 Ontario licenses in first place, and now if it does, it may not be granted one. This is because Doug Ford’s government will be granting licenses through a lottery system won by various municipalities.

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But when it comes to the city’s decision, which expected in early January, at least one councillor, Mary Rita Holland, says she will be voting yes to opt-in.

“I don’t see how we can’t opt-in,” Holland said. “There’s no real justification for not opting in. It’s a legal product.”

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READ MORE: Ontario municipalities that have decided to opt in or out of cannabis stores

Holland adds that during conversations with constituents, she’s found the public is ‘overwhelmingly in favour’ of having a cannabis store in Kingston.

That’s good news for McLean, who has poured a lot of money into this endeavour and would hate to see it go up on smoke.

“At least six figures, at this point,” she said. “So there’s a lot going into it.”

For now, she’ll continue checking in on the construction site. And if no license is obtained for April 1, she’ll move her mid-town head shop to the west-end location once it’s ready to open.

Global Kingston tried to contact Mayor Bryan Paterson to ask about his reaction to the changes, but Paterson was not available to comment.

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