There’s a money pot waiting at the Hunny Pot — emphasis on pot.
So naturally owner and Mississauga realtor Hunny Gawri is excited his Hunny Pot Cannabis Co., located at 202 Queen St. W. in Toronto, passed its final inspection and will open its doors on Monday to sell recreational cannabis.
April 1 is the earliest day 25 applicants who won the provincial lottery back on Jan. 9 to operate bricks-and-mortar cannabis retail stores can welcome customers in Ontario, which until now has only offered sales online via the OCS website.
“Cannabis was on the horizon and I definitely wanted to be a part of it,” said Gawri, standing outside his 3,500-square-foot store earlier last week. “I’ve always been a part of new emerging markets so whether it was tech or real estate (previously).”
Of the 25 stores in Ontario, five are set to be in Toronto proper.
There was a lengthy process following the lottery, including a 15-day public notice on each proposed cannabis store space before a Retail Operator Licence (ROL) and Retail Store Authorization (RSA) is issued by the province followed by a pre-opening store inspection — sometimes several if anything is found to be wrong — before you can put your shingle out.
“There is no disqualification for not opening April 1,” said Raymond Kahnert, a spokesman for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
However, applicants for the cannabis retail stores did put up an initial $6,000 fee and a $50,000 letter of credit.
“If you’re not open on April 1, the first draw (from that letter of credit) happens of $12,500,” said Kahnert. “Having said that the registrar of the AGCO has the discretion to review the circumstances under which the doors are not open.”
As it stands, the Hunny Pot is the first retail cannabis store in Toronto to jump through all the necessary hoops.
The AGCO has promised to put up an interactive website by around 6 p.m. Sunday showing which Ontario stores will actually be operational Monday.