Inside the Rush to Open Toronto’s First (and So Far Only) Legal Cannabis Store

Article by Joseph Hall, Toronto Star

Inside the rush to open Toronto’s first (and so far only) legal pot shop By Joseph Hall

The top floor of Hunny Gawri’s latest enterprise glimmered like a jewelry shop Saturday with dozens of round glass receptacles laid out with symmetrical precision, ready for their emerald-coloured wares.

On the three floors below, a hive of workers hammered and pasted and screwed the last elegant pieces together in a final push to do something none of Gawri’s nascent Toronto competitors will manage — open the city’s first recreational pot shop on time.

On Monday, the 34-year-old’s Queen St. W. store — the eponymous and larkingly named Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. — will be the only one of five cannabis shops slated for Toronto to open its doors for the provincially mandated April 1 deadline.
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One other shop has received its mandatory Retail Store Authorization, while three others are in the process of or have completed the public input phase, according to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
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Across the province, many of the first 24 stores — whose owners had just 79 days to get their facilities accredited and ready — will also remain closed Monday. Stores not ready to open can see late fines climb to as much as $50,000 if they’re still shuttered by May 1.
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Gawri’s promptness comes naturally to a man who opened his first retail stores — a pair of Link it Up cellphone shops — just out of high school.
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He’s also been a part-owner of a pair of salons and a real estate broker whose firm is one of the top 50 Re/Max brokerages in Canada.

Read the full article here.

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