By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Oshawa’s first retail cannabis store only opened a month ago, but it could soon face some competition in the city.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) held its second lottery to select 42 applicants for the next round of retailers to open in the province.
The first lottery was held in February, with stores expected to open April 1. However, many applicants faced delays and opened much later.
Tokyo Smoke, located on Laval Drive in Oshawa, opened on July 23, almost four months after the targeted date.
Two individuals from Oshawa have been selected to move forward with their applications.
The commission’s website lists the applicants as Ekrem Uzunova and Ravino Junaev. Both are listed as proposing a store at 20 Simcoe Street South.
Another three applicants, Eliahu Mishayev, Anna Shahnaza, and Sharry Pesahov, have been placed on the waiting list.
These applications are all also listed for a location at 20 Simcoe Street South.
Raymond Kahnert, a spokesperson for the AGCO, says all five are individual applications.
“Expression of Interest applications were randomly selected in an automated software program, developed by the AGCO’s Gaming Lab, and supervised by the third-party fairness monitor KPMG,” Kahnert wrote in an email response.
Kahnert adds there is a chance one of the applicants could open a store in another municipality with the GTA region.
While the rules of lottery state the applicant must operate their cannabis retail store at the same address as provided on their application, there is a provision that the applicant can submit a request to the AGCO registrar to operate a cannabis retail store at a different address in the same region.
According to an AGCO media release, there were 4,864 eligible expressions of interest included in the lottery draw.
Applicants have until Aug. 28 to apply for a license through the provincial government.
Municipalities were allowed to opt-out of allowing cannabis retail stores earlier this year.
After a lengthy debate, Oshawa council voted to opt-in on Jan. 11 by a seven to four vote.
Councillors John Gray, Rick Kerr, Tito Dante-Marimpietri, Brian Nicholson, Bob Chapman, Derek Giberson, and Mayor Dan Carter voted in favour while Councillors John Neal, Bradley Marks, Rosemary McConkey, and Jane Hurst were opposed.
The provincial government also announced it is releasing $10 million to help municipalities combat illegal cannabis markets, and police enforcement.
The funding is part of the Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund (OCLIF), a two-year, $40 million program announced last year ahead of legalization of marijuana in Canada in October 2018.