Article by Windsor Star
The owner of Essex County’s first legal retail pot shop might not just be Canada’s youngest cannabis businessman but also the country’s first second-generation entrepreneur in what is a fairly new but expanding economic sector.
“My father was a co-founder of Aphria — we’ve been in this since the beginning,” said Anthony Cervini, the owner of Tony’s Joint in Essex, who only recently turned 22.
John Cervini was one of the original principals behind Leamington-based Aphria Inc. Begun in 2014 and initially focused on the medical marijuana market, the pioneering firm has grown into one of the biggest multibillion-dollar cannabis companies in the world, with a globally expanding footprint.
“I worked at Aphria since 2014 — I think I have knowledge that some of my competition doesn’t have,” Anthony told the Star Wednesday. That early insider savvy includes knowing how strict and exacting the regulations and government oversights are in growing, handling and testing legal pot. “It’s not like the black market.”
Essex’s mayor and members of town council helped cut the ribbon at Saturday’s grand opening of the municipality’s newest business, but Tony’s Joint, located in a shopping plaza at 20 Talbot St. S., has been selling to the public since its initial soft opening on Oct. 17. Business has already been “really good,” said Cervini, with customers of all ages over 19 checking out the store’s cannabis-derived offerings — everything from flower, vapes and concentrates to pre-rolls, topicals, drinks and edibles.
“It’s been awesome — we’ve had both people coming in who know exactly what they want, to people coming in, wanting to learn more,” said Cervini.
With the provincial government recently accelerating the pace at which bricks-and-mortar retail cannabis outlets in Ontario are approved, Essex County already has a second legal retail pot shop approved, and Windsor saw the opening of its fifth such business.
Also opening its doors this month in the county was the Amherstburg Cannabis Company at 268 Sandwich St. S, which, like Tony’s Joint, is open seven days a week. In Windsor, SpiritLeaf at 1550 Huron Church Road became the first such operation on the city’s west side.
The list of Windsor retail hopefuls also continues to grow, with 25 other pot shop applications still in the regulatory approvals processing stage at the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), a higher number than in London, a city with double the population.