ontario cannabis stores

Ontario wasted over $10 million on weed shops that didn't open

If you've ever wondered where provincial money goes, you probably won't be relieved to know that at least $10 million of it was spent on cannabis stores that never even opened. 

According to the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation's financial statements, at least $1.2 million was spent on leases and lease terminations and another $8.9 million was spent on writing off equipment and renovation expenses. 

Before Doug Ford took over as premier in June 2018, Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government had planned to operate government-owned cannabis dispensaries

Four of those planned shops had already been leased in Toronto, Guelph, Kingston and Thunder Bay, and renovations on the stores had commenced before the announcement of the province's shift to a private-sector system

This means all the costs that had already been incurred basically went to waste, although some of the leftover equipment may still be sold. 

"The costs to the OCRC related to transition between mandates included $8,694,289 for store fixtures required to stand up a full network of retail stores," spokesperson Daffyd Roderick wrote in an email to Global News.

"The OCS is looking at its options to recover value for these assets."

The OCRC now operates as a wholesaler and online retailer, and it was recently reported that they lost $42 million in the 2018-19 fiscal year. 

But although legalization hasn't exactly been profitable in all regards for Ontario thus far, Jay Rosenthal, co-founder and president of Business of Cannabis, told the CBC as long as the province continues to open more stores, it's likely to get better. 

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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