Growth of cannabis stores continues

Growth of cannabis stores continues

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Cannabis stores are sprouting up like weeds.


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The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario lists 21 stores that are either authorized to open in Brantford or are going through the public notification process. That’s more than the 18 Tim Hortons locations in the city.

Signs bearing names like Tokyo Smoke, Cloud Nine Cannabis and High Supply Cannabis can be seen throughout the city. A list of the stores, addresses and their status can be found at .

Meanwhile, nearby Paris officially welcomed its first cannabis store – Chillin’ Buds – in early December.

“I was just sitting around, chilling with my gal pals and we were kind of brainstorming for a name and it just suddenly clicked ‘Chillin’ Buds,’“ Sabrina Bollenbach, the store’s owner, said of the name.

Located in a plaza at 1070 Rest Acres Rd., Chillin’ Buds sells a range of products, including edibles, flowers, vaporizers and accessories.

“We were looking for a location for our first store and discovered Paris,” said Bollenbach, of Bolton, Ont. “We fell in love with the community.

“We could see a need here and we also could see that the community is growing rapidly and we want to be part of the community and part of that growth.”

Chillin’ Buds is the third licensed cannabis store in Brant County. The other two are Highway-Grass Station at 230 Oakland Rd., Scotland, and Capturing Eden, at 129 King St., Burford.

Two others – another Chillin’ Buds outlet at 185 Pinehurst Rd. and Miss Jones at 989 Rest Acres Rd. – are listed on the AGCO website as “in progress,” meaning applications are going through a public notice process.


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How many stores will survive the competition remains to be seen.

“I’m not sure but I have my doubts,” said Britney Guerra, longtime cannabis crusader and general manager of Brantford Cannabis on Charing Cross Street.

“Part of the issue these days is everyone thinks they can open a store and make a lot of money. But it takes a lot of knowledge and experience to make a store successful. “

Brantford Cannabis has been open for a year. Its success is based on knowledgeable staff and a lot of experience in the business, Guerra said.

Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis also questions the viability of so many stores.

“Of course, it bothers me,” Davis said of the number of cannabis stores in the city. “But it doesn’t surprise me.”

Three years ago, after recreational cannabis became legal in Canada, Brantford opted out, deciding to not allow cannabis stores because it wanted changes to provincial legislation. The city, among other provisions, wanted a cap on the number of stores located in a municipality.

“We were hoping the province would take the same approach with cannabis stores as it does with LCBO stores,” Davis said. “We didn’t want to see the city become saturated with cannabis retail outlets and it made sense to us.”

Davis received support from other mayors when he spoke to provincial leaders. However, the province moved ahead without imposing limits.

When its concerns didn’t produce results, Brantford changed course and, in January 2019, voted to opt in. The idea was to ensure Brantford’s cannabis consumers wouldn’t have to travel out of the city and it was hoped that licensed stores would curb the illicit market.


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The mayor said he doesn’t know if the plethora of cannabis stores has impacted the city’s illegal cannabis market. But he does wonder about some of those who have opened stores.

“I’ve read reports of people in other cities investing their life savings in a cannabis store only to have it fail because the market is saturated,” he said. “I’m not a marketing person but I can’t help but think that some will end up closing.”

Brant Mayor David Bailey and councilors Marc Laferriere, John Peirce and Steve Howes attended the official opening of Chillin’ Buds.

“Through consultation with the public and through discussions at public meetings in late 2018, the County of Brant Council made the decision to opt in and allow cannabis stores in the County of Brant,” Bailey said in a prepared statement. “I continue to support regulated cannabis stores in the County of Brant that give residents safe and legal access to cannabis which also helps combat black market sales.”

The county zoning bylaws don’t distinguish between cannabis and regular retail stores, he added.

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