Northwestern Ontario’s cannabis market is far from tapped, if the steady stream of applications to build new retail outlets is any indication.
Sixteen businesses have submitted cannabis retail store applications in the region, according to the website of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which regulates the process.
Ten of those are for Thunder Bay itself, with the remainder scattered further west in Fort Frances, Red Lake, Dryden, and Longbow Lake, along with two in Kenora.
One of the applications is already in the public notice period for approval at 949 Fort William Road in Thunder Bay. The location, across from the Intercity Shopping Centre, currently hosts Starbucks and EB Games locations.
The application comes from Canna Cabana, which operates more than 20 stores in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Ontario, including one in Sudbury. The company had previously filed for approval at a location on Arthur Street West.
Thunder Bay Drug Strategy coordinator Cynthia Olsen said the city was still gathering information on the proposed location. The city has objected to at least one previous store location over its proximity to youth services.
The deadline for submissions on the proposed location is Oct. 16. Submissions can be made through the AGCO website.
If successful, Canna Cabana is in line to be the fifth cannabis store in Thunder Bay. Its fourth, J. Supply Co., opened in June on Memorial Avenue.
The remaining 15 applications in the Northwest are still listed as “in progress,” meaning simply that the AGCO has begun the review process.