Tokyo Smoke Cannabis Shop One of the Original 25 Licence Holders in Ontario – LPC
After four months of delays, the Tokyo Smoke cannabis shop in Oshawa, Ontario opened this week. Originally named Fabulous Leaf, owner Jacob Stevens was awarded one of the first 25 cannabis retail licences in Ontario. However, Stevens changed the name of his cannabis shop, partnering with a well-known brand already open in Toronto.
“The main holdup (to opening) was finding the right partner,” Stevens said. “We wanted to find one that we felt most comfortable with and would provide us the best services.”
The back story is interesting if for no other reason than to peer into the inner workings of Ontario’s lottery system. There seemed to be concerns and secrecy about the system since the retail cannabis lottery structure started taking shape in February 2019. The Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission announced 25 cannabis retail licences in March. All licence winners had to be open by April 15 or face a $25,000 fine. Any cannabis shops still not open by April 30 faced an additional $25,000 fine.
Stevens’ cannabis shop was one of the seven cannabis retail store penalized the full $50,000. But, he said, it is part of the process.
“It has its challenges like any new business. It’s a learning curve,” Stevens said.
Does the Lottery System Work? – LPC
The Ontario government limited the number of cannabis shop licences due to perceived cannabis shortage and supply chain issues. No stores were opened north of Sudbury. However, cannabis sales in Ontario doubled with store openings. That suggests that in Ontario at least, there is substantial room for growth.
Ontario recently announced a lottery for 50 more licences for cannabis stores. Applicants must have a store space confirmed, along with $250,000 in available cash and a further $50,000 of standby credit – perhaps another glimpse into what happened with previous cannabis shops that did not open.
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