Five cannabis retail licences awarded for Ontario East Region

The Ontario government announced on Dec. 13 that only 25 stores provincewide will receive licences in the new year. Global News

The Alcohol and Gaming Corporation of Ontario (AGCO) chose 25 entrepreneurs on Friday to operate the first cannabis stores in Ontario.

Out of those 25, five will operate their stores in the east region (an area including Barrie, Peterborough, the City of Kawartha Lakes, Belleville,  Kingston and Ottawa).

For those who have a licence, the criteria is communities with a population of 50,000 or more that have opted-in to have cannabis stores.

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Out of the six communities in the east region that qualify under this criteria, so far, only Ottawa, Kingston and Peterborough have opted-in.

“I know there have been potential locations that people have looked at.  I don’t know of any specifically as of yet,” said Diane Therrien, mayor of Peterborough.  “Now, that those 25 have been chosen, we will have to see who comes forward and wants to open something in Peterborough.”

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“They would have work with city staff and go through our licencing procedures to make sure it’s an adequate space and far enough from schools and all of the rules that need to be followed,” added Therrien.

The City of Kawartha Lakes will decide on Tuesday at its council meeting.

Lottery winners will have to pass ACGO licence screening, which includes a criminal background check and an examination of connections to organized crime.

Those winners will have to post $50,000 lines of credit. That money will be drawn down if the store isn’t opened by the April 1 launch date, set by the province.

There’s also a $6,000 non-refundable fee for the licence and a $4,000 store licensing fee.

WATCH: Eastern Ontario gets 5 cannabis stores but will any Kingston get one?

Click to play video: 'Eastern Ontario gets 5 cannabis stores but will any Kingston get one?' Eastern Ontario gets 5 cannabis stores but will any Kingston get one?
Eastern Ontario gets 5 cannabis stores but will any Kingston get one? – Jan 12, 2019

In an emailed statement to Global News, Raymond Kahnert, a spokesperson for AGCO stated: “Those individuals or entities that entered an Expression of Interest also indicated the Region in which they wished to operate a store, not the actual location.

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Those selected in the draw now have five days to commence their application for a Retail Operator licence.

Applicants will also need to file an application for authorization for a Retail Store, and include the address of the proposed store.

The application becomes public at this time.

Applicants can choose to wait until Jan. 22.

There will be 15-day period for the public and municipal officials to comment on the request for authorization.”

READ MORE: Oshawa council green lights private cannabis shops

“Certainly, we will work with any partners who want to open in Peterboourgh and ensure they have access to the right staffing, bylaws and licencing and all of those things,” said Therrien.

Communities must opt-in or opt-out by the Jan. 22 deadline.

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