420 with CNW – Ontario Marijuana Stores Open as Fines Loom

April 3, 2019 03:20:13

When recreational marijuana was legalized across Canada on October 17, 2018, Ontario decided to start by only availing cannabis through a website run by the provincial government. Brick-and-mortar stores were slated to open in April this year, and yesterday (April 1) was the first day of storefront sales.

The provincial government decided to use an unconventional way to select which applicants would be granted the first 25 recreational cannabis retail licenses early this year. It used a lottery to select the lucky 25 businesses to be first to open retail stores. Originally, the plan was to license as many retailers as needed.

However, the persistent countrywide supply shortages compelled the government to change its plan and issue only 25 licenses in preparation for the April 1 deadline for the commencement of brick-and-mortar retail sales of pot.

The entities that participated in the lottery were fully aware that the licenses they received were subject to strict conditions, such as being ready to open by April 1.

Those that didn’t open their stores on that first day would face a fine of $12,500, and the fines would escalate the longer the business didn’t open. This penalty would be deducted from the $50,000 letter of credit that the applicants submitted as part of the preconditions for participating in the lottery.

If a licensee is unable to start operations by this month’s end, that business risks losing the entire $50,000 covered by that letter of credit.

That threat is likely to hit several businesses, since only 10 were able to fulfill all the licensing conditions in order to open on April 1. The race is therefore on for the remaining 15 businesses to reduce the fines that they will suffer as a result of their inability to open on the first day of storefront sales.

Meanwhile, Ontario residents have been waiting eagerly for the retail stores to open. This can be evidenced by the hundreds who started queuing as early as 4 a.m. in order to be among the first to buy pot in a “real store”.

Why would one sacrifice their sleep and yet recreational marijuana is already available online in the province? Each person has his or her own reasons, but a few seem to cut across.

For example, many are excited and want to be witnesses to the making of history in the province. To such people, the experience of walking into a store and paying for cannabis is something that truly marks the end of prohibition, and they wanted to experience it firsthand.

Many other people say that they are lining up at the stores because it gives them a better shopping experience. For instance, one can smell a product before deciding whether to buy it, something that isn’t possible when you order online. Stores also give you a chance to get up close and personal with the different products before you take your pick of what is available. This is worth lining for, they say.

ChineseInvestors.com (OTCQB: CIIX) and Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO) (OTCQB: CHOOF) hope that the residents of Ontario can enjoy buying from these retail outlets without being hindered by supply shortages.

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