Canopy Growth plans to open nine new cannabis stores in Ontario in January under its Tokyo Smoke brand, growing its retail presence in Canada’s largest adult-use marijuana market, the company announced Friday.
Canopy currently has 13 Tokyo Smoke locations in Ontario, plus one store under the Tweed banner.
Six of the new Tokyo Smoke stores will be in Toronto, two in Ottawa and one in Brantford.
“Ontario is obviously the largest market in Canada, with a huge runway ahead of us,” Canopy Head of Retail Lacey Norton told Marijuana Business Daily.
“I would say, (with) Toronto being the largest city, we’ll continue to see growth within that market.
“Ottawa is also a huge opportunity, and then smaller communities like Brantford, we’ll continue to see ongoing growth throughout those communities as demand continues to grow.”
The new stores will be run by independent operators under franchising or licensing agreements with Canopy, Norton said.
Ontario has lagged far behind smaller provinces in licensing cannabis stores, with only 100 retail licenses issued as of last June.
But the province’s cannabis retail regulator, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), increased the pace of licensing for new marijuana stores in the second half of 2020, with a current goal of licensing 80 stores per month.
“I think that we’re really happy to see things beginning to speed up,” Norton said. “It was definitely a slow start in Ontario.”
The AGCO had issued 336 retail licenses as of Wednesday afternoon, with 45 store license applications undergoing a public notice process and 818 applications listed as “in progress.”
Recreational cannabis sales in the province of 14.7 million people totaled $83.9 million Canadian dollars ($66.2 million) in October, or 31% of all legal Canadian marijuana sales that month.
Canopy’s shares trade as CGC on the New York Stock Exchange and WEED on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Solomon Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org