With the grand opening of retail cannabis stores coming to Ontario in less than a month, the AGCO has revealed the locations of those stores and some people are not happy about it. Particularly, Northern Ontarians who are pissed about the locations of retail cannabis stores. That's because they have next to none of them.
The Ontario government announced late last year that they would only be able to give out 25 licenses for physical cannabis stores because of the low supply in Canada. They then decided that the licenses would be divided up by region.
The licenses were divided up in five different regions, with the majority of them going to the Toronto area. They were allocated as follows:
- Five Licenses in the Eastern Region (Ottawa, Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Simcoe, Muskoka, and others)
- Six Licenses in the Greater Toronto Area Region (York, Durham, Peel, and Halton regions)
- Two in the Northern Region (Parry Sound, Sudbury, Cochrane, Algoma, Thunder Bay, Kenora, and others)
- Five in the Toronto Region (the City of Toronto only)
- Seven in the Western Region (Hamilton, Waterloo, Niagara, Huron and Bruce Counties, and others.)
Based on that division alone, almost all of the licenses are in Southern Ontario, with only two going to the entire Northern Region. That's not the only problem for some Ontarians though.
The AGCO recently released their full list of the locations of cannabis retail stores, which only has 19 stores so far. On that list, it was revealed that both the licenses granted to the Northern Ontario region are going to shops in Sudbury.
Now on Reddit, people are responding to the news that both physical stores will be in Sudbury, and they are not happy about it, with many highlighting that because of this division they have to drive at least 3 hours just to visit a legal, physical pot shop
The government opted to give out only 25 licenses via a lottery system in this first round of cannabis stores, but it is unclear right now how and when future licenses will be allocated.
Currently, in Ontario, the only legal way to purchase cannabis is through the online Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS).