Port Hope-area couple wants to open recreational cannabis dispensary

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Nicholas and Caitlyn Araya want to open HighHope Dispensary on Peter Street in Port Hope. They're waiting on the government to open up licenses for smaller communities – Jan 18, 2019

Caitlyn and Nicholas Araya are all-in on Port Hope. They are local, they want to employ local people and want to be a big part of the community.

They have a retail space on Peter Street in the southeastern part of the town. They have a plan and even a name for the store — HighHope Dispensary.

“We want to focus on the community and a positive cannabis space,” said Caitlyn Araya. “Focusing on craft product, local product in the local community here.”

READ MORE: Alberta cannabis company looking to open retail location in Kingston on April 1

But, the Arayas don’t have a licence, at least not yet.  They will have to wait until the Ministry of the Attorney General opens up the store licence allocation to include small communities.

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“It’s only a matter of time,” said Nicholas Araya. “We’re comfortable with the wait. As long as the bureaucracy doesn’t get too lagged down, we’ll stay positive.

Earlier this week, Port Hope council voted to opt-in to allow retail cannabis stores in the community of only 16,000.

The only hiccup is the first 25 licences awarded are only for communities with a population larger than 50,000.

The closest communities that qualify near Port Hope are Peterborough (30 minutes away) and Belleville (45 minutes away).

READ MORE: Cobourg and Port Hope opt-in but don’t qualify for first round of cannabis stores

“When we move forward with it, we will be in on it, and we look forward to working with the people that want to open that business,” said Bob Sanderson, mayor of Port Hope.

If the Arayas get a licence, HighHope would be the first dispensary in Port Hope.

“We haven’t encountered any negative pushback. Questions, but no negative pushback. It’s been good,” said Nicholas Araya.

The province hasn’t indicated yet when the next round of licences will be awarded.

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