A Toronto-based company is aiming to double London’s cannabis retail locations, starting with one store this summer. The only problem is that it needs a store licence to put its plan into action.
Mihi Cannabis received its operating licence from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and, like many other aspiring retailers, will be applying for the retail operating licence on Monday.
There’s no guarantee it will get one, let alone multiple approvals for brick-and-mortar stores, yet the company says it wants to set up 10 stores along the 401 corridor by the end of this year. It ultimately wants 75 stores across the province.
“We truly believe London is going to be one of our key clusters,” said Steffan Schenk, the company’s vice-president of guest experience. “It has a very large university population and it’s a great sized city.”
Ontario is removing the cap on the number of pot shops in the province and nixing some qualification requirements for would-be owners. It also said it will be issuing approximately 20 new cannabis store authorizations starting in April 2020.
Currently, the city has three brick-and-mortar retail pot shops and one set to open this spring, but Schenk says Mihi Cannabis is confident the London market is big enough for four more shops.
The company, which has been investing in the cannabis market since 2018, is set to provide what Schenk describes as a unique experience to consumers.
“We’ve designed educational areas within the store where customers will be able to smell terpenes and we’ll also have workshop areas,” he said.
Schenk says 10-15 minute workshops will be held so that consumers can learn everything from how to roll a joint to how to take care of their bongs.
“For us it’s about creating a welcoming and relaxing environment where people can find solutions,” he added.
While the plan is to have one store open in the city by the summer, the company can’t guarantee a date for all store openings.
“It really comes down to how quickly the AGCO will be issuing store licenses and that’s totally out of our control,” he said.