By / January 8, 2021

The number of cannabis stores in Ottawa could quadruple by 2021

There are currently about a dozen cannabis retailers who have been authorized to open in Ottawa. But already almost 30 applications for authorization are pending with the AGCO (. The Commission has unfortunately declined to comment on the results or the timeline for license approvals, but the upward trend is clear and easy enough to predict.

In order to keep up with the latest cannabis news out of Ontario, and the evolving world of cannabis and hemp news from around the world, download our companion Hemp.IM app.

Ottawa’s Cannabis retailer expansion will have winners and losers

The owner of Canna North, Eric Lewinson, is one of the new entrants in the Ottawa share of the crowded cannabis market. Lewinson says he is focusing on a straightforward strategy, unlike many current retailers, allowing him to remain competitive.

Most of the locations where Mr. Lewinson applied do not have a high concentration of cannabis shops. No major market is interested in taking a head-first approach by strictly targeting traditional customers says the owner.

The 26-year-old man believes that he was scrutinized more thoroughly during his four background checks with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) before his license was granted, although he had not been involved in the previous activities at these sites.

More surveillance needed says Mathieu Fleury

Rideau-Vanier Ward Councillor, Mathieu Fleury, would like to see more intensive reviews of new retailers by the AGCO. “I see the owner as an accomplice” he says, referring to their potential past involvement in the illicit market.

The AGCO argues that individuals who operated illegal stores after the province adopted their zero-tolerance policy in October 2018 cannot obtain a retail business license, authorization or retail store manager’s license. The Commission already assesses whether an owner has knowingly allowed an illegal provider to operate as part of an eligibility review of each application.

Furthermore, Councillor Fleury advocates stricter monitoring of the consolidation of cannabis retailing, as more and more retailers arive and chain stores start to gain a competitive advantage.

While his motion calling for stricter rules was adopted by the City Council last summer, no changes were made by the province yet.

Customers and citizens alike have their grievances over the current cannabis situation in Ottawa

People lined up for hours to retrieve pre-paid orders at the Superette cannabis store in Ottawa on April 4, 2020, just before the cannabis stores were ordered to close. A few days later though, the province announced that stores could offer orders and delivery. A rapid turnaround emblematic of the unreliable and unclear regulations for cannabis retail in the city.

Residents of Lower Town also expressed concern about the concentration of cannabis shops in the area. Mr. Fleury believes that this concentration is leading to increased commercial rents, potentially driving away grocers, independent retailers or coffee shops.

Some commercial brokers do not rent to anyone other than those who are licensed to sell cannabis. This is similar to what we have seen in the past with liquor licenses.

Cannabis store locations are at the discretion of the applicant and can be anywhere retail sales are permitted as long as they are not within 150 meters of another cannabis store and schools, says the AGCO. But that simple rule, and approach, may not longer be sufficient as the stores continue to multiply in the city.

(Featured Image by Gates of Ale via Wikimedia Commons)


This article was written by a third party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of, its management, staff or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.

This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the Company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the Company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the Company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.

First published in Radio Canada, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

Although we made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translations, some parts may be incorrect. assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions or ambiguities in the translations provided on this website. Any person or entity relying on translated content does so at their own risk. is not responsible for losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy or reliability of translated information. If you wish to report an error or inaccuracy in the translation, we encourage you to contact us.

Comments are closed for this post.