Hobo Recreational Cannabis eyes ByWard Market for second Ottawa pot shop

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A view inside the Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store on Bank Street. File photo

Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store has announced plans to add a second location in Ottawa, though the company will have to pass through some regulatory hurdles before it’s granted a retail licence.

Hobo, which currently operates one of three cannabis storefronts in the capital from its Bank Street location, said Tuesday it plans to open its second Ottawa outlet at 121 Clarence St. in the ByWard Market. A press release states Hobo has partnered with one of the selected applicants in Ontario’s second-round cannabis retail lottery to turn the 5,000-square-foot space into a multi-level pot shop.

The second Hobo location is not yet a done deal, however. Hobo, which is run by Vancouver’s Donnelly Group, and its unnamed partner from the lottery will need to apply for a retail licence to operate the pot shop at the Clarence Street location. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario – the province’s regulator for cannabis retail licences – told OBJ in an email Tuesday that it has not yet received an application to operate a pot storefront at 121 Clarence St.

Another hurdle the joint venture might need to overcome is obtaining a permit for the address in question. The province’s second cannabis lottery required applicants to include a proposed address for their pot shop, but none of the selected eastern Ontario applicants put down the Clarence Street address in their proposal.

Under one of the fine-print rules of the AGCO’s cannabis licence framework, lottery winners can submit to change the initial address listed in their proposal. Additionally, an applicant that was initially placed on the waitlist to apply for a licence can change which address is specified in a final application.

The list of successful lottery applicants on the AGCO’s website currently includes three selections from Ottawa. The first address, which was among the initial winners of the lottery announced last month, is at 4335 Strandherd Dr. in Barrhaven. The other two, one for 470 Charlemagne Blvd. in Orleans and another for 1036 Merivale Rd. in Carlington, have since been moved from the waitlist to the list of selected addresses.

Ottawa has another address currently on the waitlist at 303 Richmond Rd. under the name Ethan Anderson. That same address, submitted under a numbered Alberta company, was previously stricken from the selected list for failing to meet the requirements set out by the AGCO.

Also in a release Tuesday, Hobo said its Centretown location had generated $8.3 million in net sales across 197,000 transactions since opening on April 1. Superette, the cannabis storefront operating in Wellington Village, announced last week that it had collected $7 million in revenue across 128,000 transactions in its first five months of business.

If Hobo is successful in obtaining a licence for its Clarence Street location, it will be in close competition with Alberta-based retailer Fire & Flower, which operates Ottawa’s third cannabis storefront around the corner at 129 York St. Fire & Flower has not disclosed details about the local store’s sales to date.