Leaders of the regulated cannabis industry in Canada are pleading for the Ontario provincial government to open the market for more retail stores.

In an open letter issued on October 28 to the office of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, chief executives from leading public cannabis firms asked the province to take a closer look at changing its current policy.

“Compared to other provinces, Ontario is lagging far behind,” the letter from the CEOs states.

The Cannabis Council of Canada is an association created to protect the interests of licensed producers (LPs) in Canada. The entire list of executives who signed this letter is as follows:

  • Alison Gordon – 48North (TSXV:NRTH)
  • Irwin D. Simon – Aphria (NYSE:APHA,TSX:APHA)
  • Terry Booth – Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB,TSX:ACB)
  • Mark Zekulin – Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC,TSX:WEED)
  • Mike Gorenstein – Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON,TSX:CRON)
  • Sebastien St. Louis – HEXO (NYSE:HEXO,TSX:HEXO)
  • Greg Engel – Organigram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGI,TSXV:OGI)
  • Torsten Kuenzlen – Sundial Growers (NASDAQ:SNDL)
  • Navdeep Dhaliwal – The Supreme Cannabis Company (TSX:FIRE,OTCQX:SPRWF)
  • Brendan Kennedy – Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY)

The CEOs are asking Ford to make every effort possible to ensure the number of stores in the province “significantly” increases since this move would support LPs.

The province has long had general issues with supply; a bottleneck of cannabis products was the main reason Ontario elected to take a slower approach for the rollout of retail shops.

“There is ample supply of cannabis for the adult recreational market — there simply is no longer a shortage,” the letter from the cannabis leaders reads.

The slow rollout isn’t affecting just producers of cannabis — it has also impacted companies dedicated to managing retail networks in Canada.

During an interview with the Investing News Network (INN), Darren Bondar, CEO of Inner Spirit Holdings (CSE:ISH), said Ontario could hold easily 1,000 stores “without looking like the pot capital of the world.”

Instead of opening a free market for private parties to apply and set up shops across the province, the Ontario government elected to create a lottery system and issue a set number of licenses, which still require validation after the lottery.

A side effect of the lottery system was the immediate deal-making point of view created for lottery winners, who, rather than go through the process of setting up a store, elected to allow the participation of other established firms, including LPs.

The lottery process has been heavily criticized for its restrictive nature and for the limited number of licenses actually issued.

In a previous interview with INN, a former executive director of the council, Allan Rewak, said it was set up to discuss the issues currently affecting LPs.

These leagues and team ups for cannabis companies and executives are not rare. Earlier this year, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce officially launched a new banding of cannabis companies with the creation of the National Cannabis Working Group.

A spokesperson for the government of Ontario did not reply to a request for comment regarding the letter from the council.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

As investors continue to prioritize cannabis opportunities in the US, market watchers expect mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to play a role in the future for Canadian companies.

A consolidation trend has been expected in the Canadian cannabis space for some time now based on the size of the market compared to the number of operations in the country.

Keep reading... Show less

The product will include polyphenols known to have significant health benefits.

BioHarvest Sciences Inc. (CSE: BHSC) (“BioHarvest” or the “Company”) has reached an important milestone in its development program of additional Nutraceuticals. The olive-based Nutraceutical product scheduled for market availability in the second half of 2022 will contain the following unique matrix of polyphenols: hydroxytyrosol, trosol, and verbascoside. These compounds are the major polyphenols in naturally grown olives and are responsible for the high antioxidant activity of olives and olive oil. Importantly, the BioHarvest olive-based Nutraceutical product will provide all the benefits of olives and olive oil with a low calorie count per serving.

Keep reading... Show less

Cresco Labs (CSE:CL) (OTCQX:CRLBF) (“Cresco” or the “Company”), one of the largest vertically integrated multistate cannabis operators in the United States, announced today that it will report financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31 st , 2020 on Thursday March 25 th , 2021 before the market opens.

The Company will host a conference call and webcast to discuss its financial results and provide investors with key business highlights on Thursday March 25 th , 2021 at 8:30am Eastern Time (7:30am Central Time).

Keep reading... Show less

 Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED) (NASDAQ: CGC) (“Canopy Growth” or “the Corporation”) announced today that EVP & CFO Mike Lee will be participating in a fireside chat at the BofA Securities Virtual Consumer & Retail Technology Conference on Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 9:30am ET .

Keep reading... Show less

Hill Street Beverage Company Inc. (TSXV: BEER) (“Hill Street” or the “Company”). The Company announces that further to its press release dated March 2, 2021, it has obtained TSX Venture Exchange approval to extend the closing date of its previously announced private placement of units (“Units”) until April 7, 2021. Each Unit is comprised of one (1) common share and one (1) warrant, exercisable for one common share at price of $0.11 per share, for a period of three (3) years from the date of Closing. The Company applied to extend the date of closing to allow a greater number of interested investors to participate.

For more information regarding the Company or the offering, please contact ir@hillstreetbevco.com, or

Keep reading... Show less