Thunder Bay, Kenora, to get cannabis stores in latest round of government licences
50 new stores licensed across Ontario, 5 in northern Ontario
Thunder Bay and Kenora are among the communities across the province that will be home to a cannabis store as part of the Ontario government's latest round of licensing.
The Ministry of the Attorney General announced the second wave of licences Wednesday morning. Of the 42 that will be granted to private businesses in Ontario through a lottery by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, one will be in Thunder Bay and one in Kenora. Other communities in northern Ontario included in the latest round of licensing include North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins.
Two licences were already approved to operators in Sudbury in the provincial government's first round.
Additionally, up to eight more new licences will be allocated to businesses in First Nations through a separate first-come-first-serve process.
The province, in a written release, said that interested parties will be able to submit an expression of interest to the alcohol and gaming commission this summer. The retailers will then be authorized when they meet all requirements and could start opening as early as October.
Officials said that prospective retailers must demonstrate that they have appropriate retail space and access to enough capital required to open a cannabis store.
There is no longer a restriction on how big a community has to be in order to host a retail outlet; only communities with a population of more than 50,000 were eligible in the first round.
"Our government is continuing to take a responsible approach to opening cannabis stores across Ontario, allowing private sector businesses to build a safe and convenient retail system to combat the illegal market," Finance Minister Rod Phillips stated in a written release issued Wednesday.