Would-be pot entrepreneurs submit papers to city

The crowds didn't materialize, at least not in person, as the city opened the application process for purveyors of recreational pot in Calgary.

It's the first day to file applications to run retail marijuana shops in Calgary

Jeff Mooij, owner of the 420 Clinic in Inglewood, says he submitted 11 applications for recreational marijuana stores on Tuesday. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

The crowds didn't materialize, at least not in person, as the city opened the application process for would-be purveyors of recreational pot in Calgary. 

Most applied online, but there were about two dozen who stood in line at City Hall on Tuesday morning to submit building permit, development permit and business licence applications.

"I think they've been prepping for this and expecting maybe an onrush this morning that they didn't get," said Jeff Mooij, who submitted applications for 11 locations for his company, 420 Premium Market. 

"So things went a lot smoother than anticipated, for sure."

The city says it received 226 applications by noon Tuesday, the majority of which were filed within the first 17 minutes. It says 199 of those applications were submitted online.

The city released a map showing the locations tied to applications. 

Mooij wants to establish himself early and become a "player in the market" once legalization officially kicks in. He already operates a medical marijuana business in Inglewood. 

But there are a lot of hurdles before he can get up and running. None of the applications submitted to the city can be approved until the federal government passes the needed legislation. 

'Wait and see'

Applicants will also have to go through vetting by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to ensure they qualify to own a pot shop. 

"There's a lot of wait and see," said Mooij.

"We don't know the legalization date, we don't know how much things are going to cost. Those are relevant pieces of information that people would have before they opened a business. We're all just a little bit nuts, let's just say."

Justin Woo agrees that there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered, but says he's confident in his research for two locations in Calgary under the name Bud Bar. 

He hopes to be up and running by October. 

"As soon as I started contemplating opening a cannabis retail company, just the entrepreneurship, I just loved it, it clicked, something lit up," he said after sailing through the application process. 

Brandy MacInnis, a senior special projects officer with the city, said they'll start reviewing applications so that once legalization becomes the law of the land they can start issuing approvals. 

With files from Dave Will