Indiva buys way out of Ontario pot sales box
Boxed in by a rule designed to help small retailers, a London pot producer has found a way to flex its muscle and triple its presence in the local market months before Ontario opens the industry to private sellers.
Limited as a producer to a single store to sell cannabis, Indiva is partnering with a new company to open 10 marijuana dispensaries across the province, including two more in London.
Indiva had announced plans to open multiple pot shops throughout Ontario, but the province scuttled those plans last month after releasing retail rules that limit pot producers to a single store attached to their production site.
Now, Indiva has bought a 9.9 per cent stake in Retailgo Corp., which will operate a string of dispensaries under the name Ouid when bricksand-mortar stores open in April.
“It’s also a chance to be part of a brand new legal industry . . . There’s not too many opportunities in life where you can be part of something right from the ground floor.” said Indiva’s chief operator Koby Smutylo.
Ouid — pronounced “weed” — already has secured a lease for a dispensary at 875 Wellington Rd., just south of Southdale Road, and is eying a second location downtown.
The company’s team is meeting with municipal officials and local business associations to answer any questions they may have.
Under Ontario’s private cannabis retail framework, licensed producers can own no more than 9.9 per cent of dispensaries that aren’t attached to their production sites, a move designed to create opportunities for smaller retailers.
The province isn’t capping the number of retail licences it will award — for which the application process opens Dec. 17 — but each operator will be allowed to hold a maximum of 75.
One leading cannabis lawyer has concerns about limiting the involvement of licensed producers in the retail landscape.