Article by Graeme McNaughton, Guelph Mercury
With the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, there are fewer storefronts open to would-be customers in Guelph.
One store, however, is looking to open for the first time.
Over the weekend, signage was installed at 314 Stone Rd. W. for Fire & Flower, an Alberta-based cannabis retailer now looking to expand into Ontario.
As previously reported, Fire & Flower announced in mid-February it was looking to set up shop across the road from Stone Road Mall by this summer.
“We can have a store open, and this usually includes approvals, in about eight to 12 weeks,” Nathan Mison, the company’s vice-president of government and stakeholder relations, told the Mercury Tribune at the time.
The building was originally slated to be one of several provincially run cannabis retailers under the now-scrapped LCBO-like sales model. Because of that, Mison said he expected authorizations could move along a bit quicker.
“A lot of those necessary approvals have already been taken care of, so we hope that we can be there sooner than (12 weeks after the licence application), but we’re erring on the side of caution,” he said.
As of March 30, Fire & Flower’s application has not been posted to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s website for its mandatory 15-day public input period.
In an email to the Mercury Tribune, Raymond Kahnert, spokesperson for AGCO, said the commission licensing process for cannabis retail stores remains open at this time.
“The AGCO is making every effort to support the people of Ontario and the businesses we regulate by continuing to deliver priority services, while making sure not to pose a risk to the health and safety of the public and our employees,” he added.
To date, the only Guelph location submitted for this process is Spiritleaf’s proposed location in the Edinburgh Market Place plaza.
Kahnert said the public input period for Spiritleaf’s submission closed on March 25 with no submissions received.
He added that the process is now in the hands of the AGCO Registrar, who “considers all available information in order to make a decision if an authorization for this proposed location is in the public interest.”