Article by Tara Deschamps, Toronto Star
When Clint Seukeran spotted the email revealing he would be among the first Ontarians to get the chance to open a cannabis store, he thought the missive was spam.
Then his brother took a peek and pointed out it was real.
“My first reaction was shock, but then I realized we have a lot of work to do,” said Seukeran, who owns a coconut water distribution company, but has never dabbled in the cannabis business.
“I knew I was a fish out of water.”
He quickly set to work, choosing a Brampton plaza for his Ganjika House store, but with under three weeks until opening day, he said finishing construction and hiring staff were still on his to-do list.
Seukeran and 24 other winners of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s Jan. 11 lottery were given fewer than three months to prepare cannabis stores to open April 1.
They say it’s been a tight timeline to learn how to navigate a new industry triggered by Canada’s Oct. 17 legalization of recreational cannabis. While Ontarians have been able to purchase recreational cannabis online since then and through the underground market for far longer, the lottery winners, who beat out 16,905 other entrants, will be the first to bring the substance to brick-and-mortar stores in the province.