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Reefer sadness: Guelph officially shut out of pot shop lottery

Two legal cannabis retailers plan to open in Hamilton, with three stores planned for London
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The former Dulux Paint store on Stone Road West was going to be a cannabis store before the current Ontario PC government moved to a private model. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday file photo

All seven recreational cannabis retailer licenses have been signed, sealed and delivered to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission for Ontario’s West Region, but Guelph and cities within Waterloo Region are officially not represented on the list.

Guelphites looking to purchase cannabis at a legal retail store will have to travel to one of two stores in Hamilton to find the closest retailer.

The provincial government awarded a total of 25 licenses across Ontario through a lottery process held earlier this year. Seven of those licenses were given out in the West Region, which includes Guelph and 13 other eligible municipalities in the area it covers.

Now that all of the applications have come in to the province’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission for the West Region, a clearer picture of the near-future retail cannabis landscape in the area is emerging.

London will have the highest concentration of retail cannabis stores in the region, with three of the licenses awarded in that city. Hamilton will have two stores, while St. Catharines and Niagara Falls will each have one.

Guelph, Kitchener and Waterloo did not receive any interest from the lottery winners in the region, nor did other cities, like Windsor and Sarnia.

The 25 stores across Ontario will be the only ones to receive licenses until at least December, but there is no guarantee the process will be expanded at that time.

“We are continuing to monitor the national supply shortage and will make further information available to potential applicants as soon as we can,” said a spokesperson from the Ministry of the Attorney General.