The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced the winners of the second REC retail lottery. Winners are not guaranteed licenses, and will be subject to background checks.
AGCO, Twitter—Jameson Berkow
The draw took place as planned on Tuesday, but—with no explanation—they did not release the results until the next day. After massive response to the last lottery in January, the Ontario government introduced stricter conditions this round.
Twitter—AGCO, Globe and Mail
- Each applicant needed to prove access to a retail space and provide bank assurance they had access to $250,000 in working capital.
- To apply for a license, winners have until next Wednesday to pay some $6,000 in license fees, and show a $50,000 letter of credit.
- This cut the number of applications from more than 17,000 in January to 4,864. As with last time, many entrants and winners applied as sole-proprietors, despite the difficulties sole-proprietors endured following the last lottery.
MJ Biz Daily, Twitter, London Free Press
The AGCO allowed multiple applications by different people and companies to file the same address. There were no restrictions on proximity to other REC stores.
- One Oshawa address, used on 173 applications, appeared twice on the list of 42 winners, and three times on the waiting list.
- Addresses listed on the website of REC retailer High Life as "coming soon" were filed as secured addresses by more than 650 applicants. One storefront in Barrie listed as an "upcoming" High Life property appeared on 91 applications, one of which was a winner, while another such address in Toronto had 96 applications, one of which is on the waiting list.
- Addresses associated with High Life were on six of the winning applications.
Globe and Mail
Of the 13 winners in Toronto, five are on Queen Street. Of those, three are on Queen West, where two of the city's five REC stores are already located. Optimists wondered whether that would make Queen West a cannabis destination. GrowthOp
Three winners in rural Toronto suburb Innisfil, population 36,566, won lottery spots at 1982, 1988, and 2008 Commerce Park Drive.
- Lawyer Trina Fraser said, "It wouldn’t be in the regulator’s interest to have three stores located that closely together. […] They just can’t let that happen.”
The highest profile winner was numbered company 11180673 Canada Inc, whose secured retail site was the Harbord Street location of Toronto raid-flouting unlicensed dispensary CAFE. CBC Toronto, CityNews
- Neither of CAFE's owners—the Lamborghini-driving former wrestler or the ace counterfeiter known for introducing convincing fake $100 bills across Canada in the early 2000s—are listed on the application.
- The application is in the name of TV and film producer Robert Heydon, whose address is listed as a single-family home in Hamilton. Along with a film-financing company registered to the address, Heydon incorporated another company, Kind Farms Inc, last month.
- Heydon told the CBC he has "no connection" to CAFE or its owners and has never met them, but would not say how he chose the address, or how he knows landlord Ali Gillani, who's presently facing three charges related to the CAFE raids. Gillani was previously CEO of a company cofounded by counterfeiter/CAFE co-owner Wes Weber. CBC Toronto
- Trina Fraser said, "Expect a refusal and subsequent court challenge on this one." Twitter
One location is the same spot at which former premier Kathleen Wynne's government proposed a government-run Ontario Cannabis Store location. Noting the location was 400 metres from a public school, then aspiring premier Doug Ford raised the store during a televised debate, saying, "I won’t put [cannabis retail] beside schools like you did. It was beside a school on your watch."
Two winners were connected with major LPs: Cory Floyd Cacciavillani, who won a spot in the Greater Toronto Area, is the son of Aphria co-founder Cole Cacciavillani, while Najla Guthrie, who won a spot in Toronto, is CEO of clinical research company KGK Science, owned by Auxly Cannabis.