A local mystery over cannabis lottery winners
Any from Waterloo Region? Who knows? Mayor Vrbanovic says he hasn’t heard either
WATERLOO REGION — The province announced the list of 25 companies that can apply for a cannabis retail licence and seven of them are in the western part of the province that includes Waterloo Region. But it’s not clear exactly where the seven licence holders are located — other than being west of the Greater Toronto Area. Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said he hasn’t heard that any of the seven chosen in the west region are local. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario released the list late Friday. The winners in the lottery have five business days to turn in their application, along with a $6,000 fee and $50,000 letter of credit. The licences were divided regionally across the province with five going to the east, seven in the west, two in the north, six in the Greater Toronto Area and five in Toronto. Some of the winners include The Niagara Herbalist and Tripsetter Inc. The provincial agency said they received 17,000 expressions of interest from people and companies wanting to hold a cannabis retail licence. The stores are set to open April 1. For now, people wanting to buy recreational cannabis can only purchase legally through a government-run website. Peter Thurley, a Kitchener-based board member with Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, said it appears most lottery winners were individuals and not corporate entities. “I think that is good thing,” he said. Thurley said the application process is tight and “onerous.” There is a short time frame to get the application together, Thurley said. “Some of those names won’t end up with stores,” he added. Vrbanovic said the city heard from several interested parties looking for information on zoning and licensing. On Monday, the city votes on whether to allow or reject cannabis storefronts. Similar council votes will be held in Waterloo and Cambridge this week.