Ontario is working at breakneck speed to get an adult-use cannabis framework in place. Today, the Liquor and Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) announced 14 cities that will be home to the Canadian province’s first round of government-run storefronts. Ontario is Canada’s most populous region.
These retail stores will be created and managed exclusively by the LCBO per a controversial announcement on Sept. 8.
Toronto is an obvious first choice for cannabis retail, being that it’s the most populated city in the nation. As well, the neighboring cities of Vaughan, Mississauga, and Hamilton, which are to the north, west, and south of Toronto, have also been included in the announcement.
Canada’s capital of Ottawa was a clear choice as well to be among the first sanctioned cities, as were major centers including London, Windsor, and Kingston. Sitting on the border of Detroit, Windsor could become a hotspot for American cannabis lovers if Michigan fails to end marijuana prohibition in 2018 through a ballot initiative.
Other regions that are now part of this new retail regime include Barrie, Brampton, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Kitchener, which happens to be the home of Weedmaps Canada.
The LCBO, as well as staff from Ontario’s Ministry of Finance, will meet with the municipalities at an undetermined future date to decide exactly where these stores will be located.
The government also stated today that it will be identifying more locations for the first 40 stores in the region. Provincial officials added that even if a store is not located in a needed area initially, all Ontarians will have access to cannabis through an online retail website in July 2018 when pot becomes legal.
The provincial plan is to have approximately 150 government-controlled cannabis outlets operational by 2020.