CORNWALL and SDG, Ontario – Residents of our region will have to wait to buy Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) pot within their municipality.
Our local M.P.P. Jim McDonell is unsure of when locals can expect to attain licensing opportunities.
“It’s a bit of a wait and see,” said McDonell.
On Dec. 13, 2018, the province of Ontario announced on their website that only 25 initial cannabis retail store licenses will be distributed through a lottery system. The number of licenses has been divided to a certain amount per region.
Although Cornwall and SDG fall into the East Region category, which is expected to attain five licenses, no municipality within Cornwall and SDG meets the requirement of a population over 50,000.
“It’s reserving licenses for the bigger centers first,” said McDonell. “Then (the province of Ontario) will be giving out licensing across the province.”
The announcement of licensing restrictions came as a disappointment to South Glengarry resident, Shawn Fowler.
“We are a little disappointed,” said Fowler. “We had plans but c’est la vie.”
Fowler had been researching and preparing for the application process for months prior to the announcement. He was ready to apply for a license and convert his Lancaster storefront, previously known as Sweet Tooth Bakery, into an Ontario cannabis retail store.
“Things were rushed in my opinion and now everyone is trying to play catch up,” said Fowler. “Which unfortunately leaves people like me in the dust.”
Fowler hypothesizes that the OCS isn’t generating enough quantity to meet the demand.
“It makes sense,” said Fowler. “If there’s no supply, there’s no sense in issuing licenses.”
Fowler predicts that within the East Region, licenses will be distributed amongst Ottawa, Peterborough and Kingston.
“I think they don’t want to issue it to the small towns because they don’t think there’s enough people to support it — I don’t know,” said Fowler.
For now, Fowler plans to wait on his green dreams. Many people have suggested that his opens up a cannabis accessory store, but he doesn’t want to decrease his chances of getting a legal license when they become available to smaller municipalities.
Fowler’s municipality of South Glengarry opted in on cannabis retail stores on Dec. 17, 2018.
Municipalities have until Jan. 22, 2019 to opt in or out of hosting cannabis retail stores. Expression of Interest Applications for the lottery will be accepted from Jan. 7, 2019 to Jan. 9, 2019 at 12 p.m.