The closest legal shop currently operating in Northern Ontario is over 100 kilometres away in Collingwood
Cottage country will be a whole lot greener this summer.
Muskoka Grown, a craft cannabis producer in Bracebridge, Ont., said it has submitted an application to open a Farm-Gate store in the heart of cottage country.
“We believe our location is well-situated and we expect to be the region of Muskoka’s first retail cannabis store located on a licensed cultivation site,” David Grand, the CEO and founder of the company, said in a statement. “We look forward to working within the regulations to develop an education-led and experience-driven retail space.”
Situated in downtown Bracebridge, Muskoka Grown is preparing the construction of a “new experiential space” that will educate visitors and help them better understand the benefits of the drug. The company is also hoping to partner with local artisans and host community events, as regulations allow. With an estimated three million annual visitors to the region — and around 60,000 permanent residents — demand shouldn’t be a problem.
The move was made possible when the Ontario government announced plans in December to lift the cap on the number of retail stores in the province and allow cannabis producers to open stores attached to their production facilities.
The news was particularly welcome in Northern Ontario where many townships, such as Muskoka Lakes, decided to opt out of allowing pot shops to operate in an attempt to preserve the look and feel of the area. The limited number of licences awarded through Ontario’s now-scrapped lottery system left the area sorely underserved. The closest legal cannabis store currently operating is over 100 kilometres away in Collingwood.
All that will all change soon and small producers stand to gain the most, said Craig Wiggins, a managing director at independent analysis firm, TheCannalysts. “For the bigger ones, it will be a bit of a branding exercise,” he said. “But the ones it will actually move the needle for are the smaller ones — the craft grows in the Muskokas, the ones in Niagara the wine region” of Ontario, he said.
“There are some indoor growers that are in some very good touristy areas that will probably have some pretty damn good stores.”
It’s about time.
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Written by David Yasvinski