One of Ontario’s first cannabis storefronts might open under the Tweed banner in April, despite the Smiths Falls-based licensed producer being barred from running its own shops in the province.
One of the winning parties in the Ontario government’s cannabis store lottery earlier this year has proposed a store in London under the name Tweed, a cannabis brand owned by Smiths Falls-based producer Canopy Growth. The application on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s online portal was filed by a numbered company.
While licensed growers were not eligible to participate in the initial draw for retail licences and will eventually be limited to a single storefront at their production facility, lottery winners reported last month they were fielding partnership requests from scores of businesses and investors keen to get a piece of Ontario’s initial run of pot shops.
Under the Ontario government’s cannabis scheme, an applicant will not receive a licence if the entity is more than 9.9 per cent owned by a licensed producer or its affiliates. The Ontario Cannabis Licence Act specifically restricts ownership based on voting shares, making it unclear whether franchise models would be tolerated under these regulations.
Growers are expected to be heavily involved in Ontario’s pot shops via supply agreements, though other provinces have allowed producers such as Canopy Growth to run their own stores.
Not all application names align with a particular brand. A proposed pot shop in Ottawa on York Street is listed under an application for “Byward Market Cannabis,” though it’s eventually expected to be run under the Fire & Flower brand – a retailer based in Alberta.
The first 25 cannabis storefronts in Ontario are expected to open on April 1, with additional retail licences up for grabs at a later date.