Article by CBC News
Cannabis connoisseurs in Windsor might not have to wait much longer to get a chance to check out the Rose City’s first-ever cannabis shop.
The new shop at 545 Ouellette Ave. is slated to open sometime in late March, likely between March 20 and March 27, according to David Craig, the chief design officer for J. Supply Holdings.
The company entered into a consulting agreement with Kirk Anastasiadis, the London, Ont.-based entrepreneur who won the chance to apply for a coveted cannabis retail licence in Ontario during the province’s previous licence lottery in August 2019.
Craig explained that J. Supply entered into its agreement with Anastasiadis late last year, when it was decided that the as-of-yet unopened store would be a J. Supply business, rather than “any other business.”
The relationship between J. Supply and Anastasiadis isn’t a franchising agreement, Craig said.
“We’re brought on as consultants to see it through to fruition,” said Craig.
J. Supply already operates J. London — which opened in April 2019 — and will provide operations guidelines, branding, product curation, as well as standard operating procedures for the store that was previously expected to open sometime in October 2019.
According to Craig, the cause for the delay is a backlog with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) — the provincial body responsible for administering Ontario’s cannabis rules, in addition to laws governing alcohol, gaming and horse racing sectors.
“There’s a process … whereby they need to do their due diligence on both the lottery winner and any of the other subsequent parties that are involved in opening a store to make sure that everything is legitimate and they all meet the criteria for eligibility,” Craig said.
Despite the alleged backlog, Craig said “we won’t blame everything on them.”
“We have a process we have to go through as well, which we’re about two-and-a-half to three weeks away from completion and having a store ready to open,” he said.
Craig added that his company has a policy where the goal is to hire local employees first, “so that we have representation from the community,” adding that roughly 800 people applied to work in Windsor’s as-of-yet unopened cannabis retail store.
Stephen Keating, founder and chief operating officer of J. Supply, said approximately 18 people will be hired to staff the store.
Craig said that Windsor business leaders who have met with J. Supply representatives “seem very excited and supportive of cannabis in the city.”
“I think that when our store does open, people will see that it’s not just come in and buy your cannabis, it’s really something you can come and experience and really start creating a relationship with us, with our staff, with our team,” he said.