The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced the winners of the second REC retail lottery. Winners are not guaranteed licenses, and will be subject to background checks.
AGCO, Twitter—Jameson Berkow
The draw took place as planned on Tuesday, but—with no explanation—they did not release the results until the next day. After massive response to the last lottery in January, the Ontario government introduced stricter conditions this round.
Twitter—AGCO, Globe and Mail
The AGCO allowed multiple applications by different people and companies to file the same address. There were no restrictions on proximity to other REC stores.
Of the 13 winners in Toronto, five are on Queen Street. Of those, three are on Queen West, where two of the city's five REC stores are already located. Optimists wondered whether that would make Queen West a cannabis destination. GrowthOp
Three winners in rural Toronto suburb Innisfil, population 36,566, won lottery spots at 1982, 1988, and 2008 Commerce Park Drive.
The highest profile winner was numbered company 11180673 Canada Inc, whose secured retail site was the Harbord Street location of Toronto raid-flouting unlicensed dispensary CAFE. CBC Toronto, CityNews
One location is the same spot at which former premier Kathleen Wynne's government proposed a government-run Ontario Cannabis Store location. Noting the location was 400 metres from a public school, then aspiring premier Doug Ford raised the store during a televised debate, saying, "I won’t put [cannabis retail] beside schools like you did. It was beside a school on your watch."
Two winners were connected with major LPs: Cory Floyd Cacciavillani, who won a spot in the Greater Toronto Area, is the son of Aphria co-founder Cole Cacciavillani, while Najla Guthrie, who won a spot in Toronto, is CEO of clinical research company KGK Science, owned by Auxly Cannabis.
Critics noted the separation of provincial applications into multiple regions failed to result in any of the 42 stores being located in large suburbs Etobicoke and North York. Kitchener-Waterloo in Southern Ontario, home to more than half a million people, finally got its first REC store after nine months of legalization.
Hotbox Lounge owner Abi Roach was shut out of the lottery, despite being one of Toronto's most prominent and longstanding cannabis advocates and businesspeople who has operated within the law for 20 years.
In a Twitter thread, Cannabis Act podcast host Jon Liedtke compared Ontario's retail rollout to Alberta's and concluded Ontario's ineffective REC retail rollout owes to the Ford government's abrupt changes to the Wynne government's established plan.
The Globe and Mail editorial board lambasted the lottery as a failure that began with the Ford government's poor response to the supply shortage in the winter. Following a second widely derided lottery, the Ministry of the Attorney General told MJ Biz Daily they intend to move to a system of allocating stores based on market demand, because there have been "moderate improvements in supply."
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In a Toronto Star op-ed, Brock University business professor Michael J. Armstrong assailed the Ontario Cannabis Store—crown corporation and holder of the provincial monopoly on cannabis wholesale—for its distinct lack of transparency.
The Canadian Medical Association courted controversy with another canna-conservative editorial in its magazine CMAJ. (CMAJ provoked argument in October when it published an editorial protesting legalization.)
CannTrust said half its stock and a quarter of its plants have been suspended by Health Canada, and warned its Q2 results will be "materially impacted" if that inventory is destroyed.
CannTrust's master grower, operations manager, and VP quality operations all departed this week. Seven anonymous employees told the Financial Post that following the management shakeup last fall that saw Tangerine Bank CEO Peter Aceto take the CEO, the workplace culture shifted toward the demand for productivity "at all costs."
A Canadian traveller—unnamed pending resolution of her case—was barred from entering the U.S. because she was carrying CBD oil. She said she did not realize CBD oil was illegal to carry into the U.S. Though the US Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances last December, CBD is still considered cannabis.
Canopy terminated a proposed partnership with the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake to build a cultivation site in the Montreal-adjacent Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. The company is also selling an indoor cultivation facility, located in BC's Okanagan Valley, for $13M.
Two-Row Times, Globe and Mail
Wildfire Collective founder Mark Spear reported receiving an internal BMO memo dated August 9 saying the bank—one of the few to work consistently in the sector—was no longer interested in new business with the cannabis industry, regardless of whether companies are licensed. Spear later added the memo "related specifically to retailers and it is unclear how it relates to cultivators."
Zenabis revealed through its Q2 financials that it had returned 554 kilos of cannabis it acquired from Sundial because the product contained mould, pieces of rubber gloves, and foreign bodies. Sundial went public on Nasdaq on August 1 with a USD$1B valuation, and did not mention the half-ton of returned, contaminated cannabis returned in its IPO filing.
Following a dip in January ($54M) and February ($49M) during the supply shortage, legal REC sales continued increasing. In June ($85M) they eclipsed May ($79M) and April ($67M), the two most successful months previous.
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