Ontario Cannabis Store strikes supply deal with Ottawa-area pot growers Canopy, Hydropothecary

Marijuana

Ottawa cannabis consumers will be able to legally purchase marijuana grown close to home when pot is legalized this fall.

The region's two largest pot producers – Canopy Growth in Smiths Falls and Gatineau’s Hydropothecary, which is rebranding itself as Hexo – are among the 26 licensed producers that the Ontario Cannabis Store says it has partnered with for its online retail platform.

The store, which will be Ontario's only online retailer when recreational marijuana is legalized in the fall, said Monday that the supply agreements with Health Canada-authorized producers were competitive.

The online retailer says it will sell a variety of products, including dried flower, cannabis oil and cannabis seeds, to customers 19 and older when pot becomes legal on Oct. 17.

Supply agreements with cannabis accessory suppliers are also in the works, the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) says, adding that it plans to expand the selection of its available products over time.

The OCS says it will have a verification system in place to ensure products are delivered to homes safely.

It says it will also establish a wholesale distribution network to supply pot in private stores.

The Progressive Conservatives' new plan to have cannabis sold through a private retail model is a contrast to the Liberals plan for a provincial government monopoly on cannabis sales.

The province was to operate 150 brick-and-mortar stores by 2020, but the new plan means sales at physical stores won't start until April 2019.

Cannabis culture

In a separate announcement, Canopy Growth says it’s opening a new visitor centre at the former Hershey chocolate factory that’s now the cannabis grower’s headquarters.

The company says the visitor centre “will bring guests on a journey that boasts larger-than-life exhibits that educate about the art, culture, science and history surrounding the cannabis plant.”

Under its former owner, the Hershey Drive factory attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, making Smiths Falls a significant tourist draw.

“We think we’re at least half as interesting as chocolate."

“We think we’re at least half as interesting as chocolate and look forward to welcoming a new generation of visitors,” Canopy Growth says.

The company has previously expressed interest in opening up retail operations from its Smiths Falls headquarters. The firm, one of Canada’s largest pot producers, has already announced plans to open its own stores in provinces such as Saskatchewan and Manitoba where private retail frameworks are already in the works.

– With reporting by the Canadian Press