An applicant behind a proposed retail pot shop in Barrhaven in Ottawa’s southwest end has won the chance to apply for an operating licence in Ontario’s second cannabis-store lottery.
If approved by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the proposed shop at 4335 Strandherd Dr. would be the city’s fourth retail cannabis store — and its first in a suburban community.
The Ontario government announced earlier this summer that it would allow 50 more private pot stores across the province, with the businesses expected to open in October.
The AGCO, which regulates the sector, held the province’s second cannabis-store lottery on Tuesday and announced the results on Wednesday.
A total of 42 applicants were selected in the second lottery. Those stores, like in the first lottery, will be distributed regionally, with seven allotted to the area designated as the East Region, which includes Ottawa and much of eastern Ontario.
Three applicants in Innisfil, one applicant in Barrie, one in Collingwood and one in Kawartha Lakes make up the other six East Region lottery winners.
The proposed location for the newest Ottawa pot store is in a plaza on the western edge of Barrhaven near Fallowfield Road and would occupy three units between a restaurant and a mattress store.
Ottawa already has three retail pot stores that opened this spring — one in the ByWard Market, one in Centretown and one in Wellington West, just west of the downtown core. They are Fire & Flower on York Street, Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store on Bank Street and Superette on Wellington Street West.
Ottawa city council voted to allow bricks-and-mortar stores selling legal recreational cannabis in the nation’s capital in December.
Lottery winners have until Aug. 28 to apply for licence
The AGCO says the 42 lottery winners have until Aug. 28 to apply for a licence to run a store at their proposed sites.
Unlike the first lottery, applicants in the latest draw had to show that they had secured retail space that could be used as a store if they were selected and that they had enough capital to open it.
The commission will review all applications submitted and says it “will only licence applicants and authorize stores that meet all legal and regulatory requirements.”
On its website, the AGCO says it received 4,864 “eligible expressions of interest” in its second cannabis-store lottery; 976 of those entries came from the East Region. The draw was overseen by a third-party fairness monitor, according to the commission.
Aquanta Group Inc. was placed on the wait list following the lottery for its proposed pot shop at 470 Charlemagne Blvd. in Orléans.
The Ontario government initially permitted only 25 stores to open across the province on April 1 of this year. The latest lottery means the number of pot shops allowed in Ontario will rise to 75.
The remaining eight of the 50 new stores will be located on First Nations reserves and are being approved through a separate process.
— With files from the Canadian Press