A former CAFE location at 104 Harbord just won the Ontario Cannabis Retail Lottery along with 42 others, including 13 Toronto locations. The previously illegal dispensary was raided several times before finally closing down in the most dramatic way. Ironically, a CAFE Toronto just won the Ontario Cannabis Lottery and has the right to apply for a retail license.

CAFE's illegal operations were shut down multiple times, by the police resorting to barricading the shops with huge concrete blocks. CAFE refused to quit, though, and decided to have a cannabis sidewalk sale outside their store, where arrests were made.

People have some interesting opinions about the Ontario Cannabis Retail Lottery system that produced this outcome.

This doesn't mean they'll get to open up shop right away, though. It just gives them the ability to now apply for a license to sell cannabis in a storefront. They will also have to meet certain standards before given the green light to open up.

It is unclear as to whether their past will affect their application. There are also five waitlisted locations that are in line. 

Here is the list of Toronto locations that won:

It might not be a total mistake, however. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's website says that "the lottery provided those who met pre-qualification requirements for one of the 42 new store authorizations announced by the Government of Ontario on July 3, 2019, an opportunity to be selected to apply for one."

So it's not like they were randomly put into the draw as a joke. They had to meet requirements, including confirmation from a bank, credit union, or caisse populaire that the applicant has the financial capacity to obtain $250,000 in cash or cash equivalents, among other requirements.


Over 4,800 other interested applicants were processed, and it is pretty wild that an operation like CAFE has come as far as they have. Applicants have until Aug. 28, 2019 to apply for a cannabis Retail Operator Licence and a Retail Store Authorization. This story will be continuing to unfold. Businesses that successfully meet all standards are set to open no later than October 2019.

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