Winners of cannabis store lottery for Hamilton, Burlington, and Niagara announced
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario held a draw to select who can apply for 42 authorizations
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's (AGCO) most recent lottery results are out, with more retail stores potentially coming to Hamilton, Burlington and the Niagara area.
On Wednesday morning, AGCO announced the individuals selected in their Aug. 20 lottery who would be able to apply for licenses.
If their applications are approved, Hamilton Mountain will get a store on Upper James Street, Ancaster will have one on Wilson Street West, and Stoney Creek will get one at the Winona Crossing Shopping Centre.
St. Catharines and Niagara Falls will get one more store each, while Welland will open its first shop.
Burlington will double the amount of its cannabis stores with two more: one on Plains Road and one on Guelph Line.
There were 4,864 eligible entrants to the draw, and 42 were selected. Applicants have one week to apply for a cannabis retail operator licence and a retail store authorization.
Applicants had to secure retail location and cash
As opposed to the first lottery in January, applicants had to be "pre-qualified" to enter this round. They were required to show evidence that they had already secured a retail space and had the financial capacity to open a store.
This included the ability to get $250,000 in cash and a standby letter of credit of $50,000 within five business days of being notified that they could apply.
Applicants' retail space had to be available no later than October 2019.
Hamilton currently has two brick-and-mortar cannabis stores — Canna Cabana Hamilton and Hello Cannabis Store.
Niagara Falls is home to Choom Cannabis. St. Catharines has The Niagara Herbalist, and Burlington has two stores — RELM Cannabis Co. and Pioneer Cannabis.
In July, the government announced that 50 more retail cannabis stores would be coming to Ontario by the fall. Eight of these spots went to First Nations reserves through a separate application process.
The Ontario government started with a limit of 25 stores in January's lottery due to supply issues.
As before, the 42 potential licences in this lottery were divided among Ontario regions, with 13 in Toronto, six in the Greater Toronto Area, 11 in the west region, seven in the east region and one store each in Kenora, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Timmins.
A full list of can be found on the AGCO's website.
Illegal cannabis sales have gone digital
Before Hamilton police started raids in the city to shut down unlicensed cannabis stores, a local cannabis consultant told CBC that there were more than 80 cannabis stores across the city.
In January, Hamilton police said that there were approximately 34 illegal dispensaries. They said they shut down the last physical store in June.
But, earlier this August, Hamilton police caught their first alleged "delivery man" in action. They told CBC that while the illegal stores may have been shut down, sales have just moved online.
Premier Doug Ford has previously called Hamilton's illegal shops his "biggest frustration."