The smoke has cleared, and it is now apparent that Peterborough and the City of Kawartha Lakes won’t be opening bricks-and-mortar cannabis stores on April 1.
“The province is sort of changing the rules, doing different (things) than what we originally thought,” Peteborough mayor Diane Therrien told Global News.
It hasn’t been easy tracking the Ontario government’s guidelines on who will be able to operate a retail cannabis business when Ontario opens its first physical stores on April 1.
First, a shortage of product led to just 25 government-approved licences for retail cannabis operations, granted to hopeful applicants via a lottery system.
Then, communities opting in to the province’s bricks-and-mortar cannabis stores were required to have a population of 50,000 or more.
But Therrien says the many regulations are not necessarily a bad thing.
“It was pretty contentious anyways,” Therrien said. “(Some) people want it in the community or don’t want it in the community so this sort of (delay) gives us time to figure out where it should be located if we get one, eventually.”
Meanwhile, those in Peterborough hoping to purchase pot can drive 45 minutes southeast to Alderville First Nation and drop into Medicine Wheel or one of six other pot dispensaries.
“I love when people come in for the first time. They aren’t sure what to expect. It’s warm and inviting,” said Brent Morrison, an employee at Medicine Wheel.
While the Electric City and Lindsay will not see retail cannabis stores on April 1, the five licences granted in the east region include three bricks-and-mortar locations in Ottawa and two in Kingston.
The next round of applications for retail cannabis operations is likely to be held this fall.