Article by Vincent Ball, Brantford Expositor
Longtime cannabis crusader Britney Guerra believes Brantford is the place to be for those shifting from the legacy to the legal market.
Guerra is general manager of two of the three Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario-licensed retail stores operating in Brantford – Harvest Cannabis at 59 Dalhousie St. and Brantford Cannabis at 168 Charing Cross St., both of which opened this year. The other AGCO-licensed store is Seven Point Cannabis at 10 Stanley St.
Previously, she operated “legacy market” stores that sold cannabis while it was still illegal, including a short-lived Cannabis Culture store on Colborne Street West, which was raided twice by police.
“We had our eye on Brantford because my brother-in-law lives here and we found the greatest building with an awesome landlord,” Guerra, 33, recalls of February 2017 Cannabis Culture opening. “We came in with a boom, lots of people heard about us and lots of people showed up, including half of the Brantford police department.”
The store was shut down a day after it opened and again a day later after employees reopened it. At that point, Cannabis Culture decided to give up on the store.
Guerra, who was away at that time and missed the raids, said police were just doing their jobs.
Given her history of activism – she was a defendant in Project Gator, a Toronto police initiative that shut down Cannabis Culture stores in March 2017 – Guerra had to go through a lengthy legal process to become a licensed cannabis store manager.
“It’s a super exciting time for cannabis in Brantford,” she said. “I think Brantford is going to be seen as a staple compared to Woodstock and London and other places.
“Currently, there are no stores in Woodstock so we have Woodstock people coming our way over London.”
She said Brantford is a “great area with great people.”
Others appear to agree.
Several more legal recreational stores are in the AGCO’s approval process.
According the AGCO’s website, there are 11 applications for recreational retail stores under consideration in Brantford and Brant County.
In Brantford, there are applications from:
• Tonik Cannabis, 560 West St. Suite B;
• The High Spot, 121 King George Rd.;
• Shinybud Cannabis, 20 King George Rd. Units 2 and 3;
• Best Budz, 140 West St.;
• Miss Jones, 185 King George Rd. Suite B5;
• Sessions Cannabis, 175-181 Lynden Rd., Unit F2;
• Cloud Nine Cannabis, 26 Brantwood Park Rd., Unit 4;
• Tokyo Smoke, 300 King George Rd. Unit K5 Brantford Commons;
• True North Cannabis, 153 West St.;
• Cannabis Supply Co, 108 Colborne St. W. Unit D.
The AGCO website also shows an application from High-Way Grass Station, 2300 Oakland Rd., R1 Scotland.
For a complete list of all applications under consideration visit www.agco.ca/status-current-cannabis-retail-store-applications . The site includes a map as well as a table listing municipalities from Ajax to York.
In addition to retail stores, there are several cannabis grow facilities in Brantford Brant, including Emblem Cannabis in Paris and the Good Farm in Brant County, operated by 48North, which has a plant in Brantford.
In Brantford, city officials said they know of seven cannabis production facilities.
Speaking glowingly of the products produced by the local growers, Guerra said she is looking forward to the next step in cannabis production.
“Micro-grows are a pathway into the legal market that Health Canada has created for the smaller producers.”
She said the rules for micro-growers are different due the size enabling them to grow smaller batches and higher quality buds.