lagoo cannabis

New Toronto cannabis shop takes a risk opening next to controversial dispensary

As the number of new cannabis shops grows in Toronto, opening up a new one seems risky —maybe even more so if you are next to a popular unlicensed dispensary.

After a slow start, Toronto is now flooded with cannabis shops, some shops have even come up for sale shortly after opening.

Lagoo is a new cannabis shop opening this month at 102 Harbord St., which is right next door to CAFE, an unlicensed cannabis dispensary.

Lagoo owner Levon Kostanyan tells blogTO it was a business decision to open in the neighbourhood as it is a good location with lots of foot traffic.

"If I wasn't going to take that location someone else was going to," Kostanyan says.

There are limited places to open due to regulations around cannabis shops proximity to schools.

"Even if someone opens it is going to be next to Harbord Village because you can't open any other place," Kostanyan says.

He knows of another licensed cannabis shop opening in the same area soon and there may be more. He is experiencing a similar situation with his first Lagoo shop, which opened recently in Tillsonburg where are six stores.

"It's doing okay," he says.

He chose the location on Harbord because he knows the neighbourhood well as he lived in the area.

Being next to CAFE isn't great because they sell cannabis edibles with much higher THC and CBD levels and also operate as a coffee shop as well as a dispensary. They can also employ marketing campaigns that licensed shops are not allowed to do — such as giveaways of cannabis items.

"That's not fair for us, we can't do that," Kostanyan says.

It is also not ideal that there so many cannabis shops but Kostanyan started the application process in September and it took longer than expected. It is too late now to change course. He feels it will work out.

"I am not worried anymore about how many stores there are."

He plans to open the 1,700-square foot location in the basement by Almond Butterfly on Harbord, the end of August.

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