cannabis store

Toronto is seeing a ridiculous number of cannabis store applications

It's hard to walk down a thoroughfare in Toronto for any length of time without spotting cannabis retailers, which have been popping up all over the city since soon after the sale of marijuana became legal more than two years ago.

While there were only five legal weed stores open in Toronto in summer 2019 — all of which got licenses from the provincial government lottery — there are now more than ten times that many.

At the time of publication, the city has a staggering 158 authorized pot shops in various stages of formal applications, with 53 of them already operating.

This is quite a lot for a city of 630 square kilometres, so if you've been surprised to see multiple dispensaries on a single block, you're not alone.

Many of the forthcoming storefronts are outposts of familiar brands, like Nova Cannabis, Friendly Stranger and Tokyo Smoke, but there are also some new players, such as Green Merchant Cannabis Boutique, which has applications for five different downtown locations currently in progress with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

Proprietors must secure a location and sign their lease before getting authorization from the commission, which has led to multiple companies setting up shop in close range of one another.

At the moment, six stores are in the "public notice" phase, during which written feedback from local residents is being accepted for a 15-day period.

Stores in the public notice phase include:

  • Cabin Cannabis at 688 Bloor St. W. 
  • Hot Buds at 25 Kensington Ave. 
  • Sessions Cannabis at 1719 Bloor St. W.
  • Power Plant Smoke at 1787 Queen St. E. Unit 7
  • Plug Canna6is at 152 Dundas St. E.
  • Lagoo at 102 Harbord St.

Another 106 are "in progress," meaning that the AGCO is currently assessing their applications.

The Danforth, Queen Street (both east and west), Bloor St. W, Dundast West, Spadina, Ossington and Yonge are popular areas, as is Kensington Market.

Among these applications are four locations of B.C. company Cannoe and four outposts of Kitchener dispensary Meta Cannabis, as well as two new Nova Cannabis outlets, five more Friendly Stranger storefronts, and six more Hobo Cannabis shops, which are presumed to open under the banner Dutch Love.

There is no telling how quickly these shops might be approved and when they would be able to open, but it's safe to say that Toronto's market will soon feel a tad over-saturated.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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