Canada: Edmonton Unveils Addresses Of All 242 Cannabis Store Applications

Photo Credit: Kevin Tuong

The city has rolled out a long list of addresses that could soon be pot dispensaries.

All 242 cannabis retail applicants, and the order in which their applications will be processed, were posted to the city website Friday afternoon.

The order was determined in a random lottery-style draw Wednesday.

The proposed stores are spread across the city, but concentrated in some areas, with 23 on Whyte Avenue, 18 on 118 Avenue, and 10 on Stony Plain Road.

The applications have not yet been approved.

Near the middle of the pack is The Green Room at 8126 Gateway Blvd., which will join a chain of British Columbia dispensaries.

The company’s president Frederick Pels said the list is too long for everyone on it to be successful, and he hopes he can convince city council to add an “element of competency” for applicants.

He worries that putting the wrong retailers through the door first could sour legalization and push customers back to the black market.

“There are quite a few variables in play that don’t make this the cash cow that everybody thinks it is,” Pels said. “Experience tells me that a lot of these applicants aren’t going to have the ability to either keep going or be good operators.”

According to a press release from the city, stores will be approved only after an individual technical review of the development permit application is confirmed to meet zoning bylaw requirements.

Operators also need approval from the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC).

Green Mountain Cannabis is first on the city’s list, with a proposed location at 116 Avenue and 119 Street.

Many operators have multiple stores, but none more than Kerry Rempel with Liquor Depot, who has 26 proposed locations.

Fire and Flower and National Access Cannabis are each gunning for 10 shops, and Canna Cabana for nine.

Stephanie Tan and Radco Group of Companies president John Radostits have eight each, and Mark Fitton, director of the Urban Sparq Hospitality Group (which owns several local bars including Knoxville’s and The Pint) has seven properties on the list.

The city’s urban planning committee voted in May to use a lottery system for the first wave of business applications instead of a first-come, first-serve system.

“What we’re trying to do is create a sense of fairness. There’s a lot of interest in setting up cannabis businesses in Edmonton,” committee chair Michael Walters said at the time.

Fire and Flower CEO Trevor Fencott, however, said he had “significant concerns” with the lottery system, saying it could leave business owners with uncertainty that could drive investment away.

Operators who missed out on the deadline to submit for the lottery draw will not be able to submit permits or license applications until the city has processed all 242 from the first wave.

City officials expect to begin taking more applications on a first-come, first-serve basis in late summer or early fall.

On May 1, the urban planning committee voted in favor of an $8,100 startup fee for pot shops, including a $5,600 development permit and a $2,500 annual business license fee for each recreational cannabis store, cultivation facility and cannabis processing facility.

AGLC applications cost $4,100 and require the applicant to list directors, officers, shareholders, managers and associated businesses, site and floor plans.

A prospective business owner could theoretically spend $5,600 with the city and $4,100 with AGLC — nearly $10,000 — and not get approved.

Provincial zoning restrictions also require 100-meter separation from schools and health-care facilities, and a municipal bylaw passed in May added a 200-meter buffer between cannabis shops.

Marijuana will be legalized for recreational purposes across Canada on Oct. 17.