First wave of pot shops to be announced over the next day – local municipalities likely to be shut out
The first 25 licenses for legal pot shops in Ontario will be announced in the next day or so, but we don’t expect to hear the names of any local municipalities when the winners are revealed.
We have since learned that Eastern Ontario would get five shops total. And they would only go to municipalities with a population of 50,000 or more, eliminating communities in our listening area.
That has frustrated councillors in Smiths Falls, hometown to Tweed a likely location for a shop in the future. Other communities such as Perth, Carleton Place, Westport, Rideau Lakes and others all opted-in to allowing the brick and mortar stores to open within their borders. But the population stipulation means they won’t see any grand openings any time soon.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s application period for potential retailers to file expressions of interest in one of the shops closed at noon Wednesday. Applicants had to be in a position to open their shop on April 1 – the first day legalized retail stores can operate – and had to pay a $75 fee. The winners will be posted online within a 24-hour period, so we should know where they will be located by tommorrow (Saturday) afternoon at the latest.
Those winners will then have five business days to submit an application which includes a non-refundable $6,000 Retail Operator Licence Application Fee as well as a $50,000 letter of credit. Those who are chosen but fail to open a shop on April 1 wold face stiff penalties.
Communities near us that hit the 50,000 population mark include Ottawa, Kingston and Belleville. Cornwall is close at just over 45,000. By comparison, the 2016 census pegged the total population of Lanark County at just under 67,000.
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