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Cannabis store lottery goes Tuesday, no guarantees for Waterloo Region

Despite some calling Waterloo Region an underserved market, it's all up to the luck of the draw for 42 available licences
Cannabis in a jar
Stock photo

Hate to be a buzzkill, but it's not a guarantee that a retail cannabis store will set up shop in Waterloo Region in 2019.

But, there are likely many that would want to serve what is being called an underserved market.

It's one of the largest population bases in Canada - and home to the first-of-its-kind "Ontario Cannabis Festival" on September 7 - and yet, residents have had to travel about an hour to places like Brampton, Toronto or London to purchase pot from a store.

Besides that, there's been the option to buy from the Ontario Cannabis Store website.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission will hold their second lottery Tuesday, with results expected to be posted on their website within 24 hours of the drawing.

"That's all overseen by a third party, so it's all fair and equitable," says Jon Conquergood, CEO with Ontario Cannabis Holdings, a company that partners up with potential lottery licence holders to help them open up shop.

"But it is, really, a luck of the dice."

There are 50 licences being doled out, with eight of them already allocated for First Nations reserves, the majority of them located in Northern Ontario.

The other 42 are being split into regions, with Waterloo being included in what they call the West Region.  It also encompasses Dufferin, Wellington, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Brant, Perth, Oxford, Elgin, Chatham-Kent, Essex, Lambton, Middlesex, Huron, Bruce, Grey and Manitoulin.

The West is guaranteed 11 stores, while Toronto will get 13 stores and the GTA Region (Durham, York, Peel and Halton) will get six.

Rounding out the list are the seven stores for the east, and the other five will go to Kenora, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Timmins.

If it's up to Conquergood, there will be a store in the region, as his company has been proactively working towards that goal.

About 17,000 applications were filed for the first lottery in January, but less applications were expected this time around.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Tuesday's lottery, and the rules behind it.


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