Article by Darren MacDonald, Sudbury.com
Business is, to put it mildly, brisk at the Canna Cabana, Greater Sudbury’s retail cannabis store in the South End.
Since opening April 20, lineups outside the store at the Four Corners have become the norm, with legal weed buyers facing long waits to make their purchase.
It’s something Anton Lucic knows well. The owner of the city’s second cannabis store – located on Marcus Drive – said Tuesday he’s as impatient as anyone to start serving customers. Lucic is still waiting for his license to operate from the province and is keenly aware he is losing money every day his store is closed.
“I’m patiently waiting for the license,” Lucic said. “I can’t wait to open the store. I’m thankful to my team of 42 people for their support and understanding.”
While allowed to open April 1, retail cannabis stores had to wait for their operating license before they can place an order with the Ontario Cannabis Store. A total of 25 stores were approved for the initial series of openings, and as the calendar turns to May, just three of them haven’t opened – Lucic’s High Life store in Greater Sudbury, the Tweed store in Wellington and the Fabulous Leaf store in Oshawa.
Raymond Kahnert, a senior communications adviser with the AGCO, said in an email earlier this month he couldn’t comment on the situation of any one store, but the province is not to blame for the delays.
“I can’t speak to specific applications, but … some applicants provided all the necessary information in a timely way,” Kahnert said. “For others, the information was incomplete, changing or slow to be provided. For others, highly involved business arrangements were entered into with third parties requiring in-depth analysis.”
The AGCO can’t make a decision on a license without all the necessary information, he said, so the onus is on the operators.
“If applicants have not yet been issued (a licence to open), it is not because of delays in processing their applications. It is due to the diligence required in assessing the eligibility of applicants, partners, interested parties and their stores.”