No clear Kingston winner in Ontario cannabis lottery

"And from what we can tell, the people who have won for the eastern region are not from Kingston." -Jennawae McLean

Alexandra Mazur | Global News

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) released the names of the individuals and businesses that won the Ontario cannabis lottery on Friday evening, and one Kingston hopeful did not win.

Jennawae McLean, a Kingston head shop owner who had applied for the lottery for her new location, Calex and Trichomes on Midland Avenue, was not even close to the top five. McLean landed at number 652.

With only five bricks and mortar stores allowed licenses in eastern Ontario come April 1, McLean says she’s not surprised she didn’t win one of the coveted stores.

“And from what we can tell, the people who have won for the eastern region are not from Kingston.”

-Jennawae McLean

According to the AGCO’s official results, the five winners of the lottery in the Eastern region were:

Daniel Telio

Brandon Long

Patterson and Lavoie

Pure Alpha Holdings

Karan Someshwar

Global Kingston has tried to independently verify where these people are located, but could not, since no other identifying information has been released. It is still unclear where the winners are based.

Winning the lottery is just the first step in establishing a store. Those selected have five business days to turn in their applications along with a $6,000 non-refundable fee and a $50,000 letter of credit.

The AGCO also released a list of 20 names that are on a wait list. Nevertheless, it’s unclear whether any of those on the wait list are in the Kingston area.

The East region, as defined by the AGCO, includes Ottawa and the Barrie, two municipalities larger than Kingston, so it’s possible that no Kingston-based applicants were chosen in the random lottery.

Only six municipalities in Ontario’s eastern region are large enough to be eligible to win in the government’s cannabis licence lottery. The municipalities needed to have a population of 50,000 or more to be eligible to host a cannabis store.

McLean says she’s concerned with the limited number of bricks and mortar stores in the area, and believes this may cause the local cannabis black market to continue to be largely unaffected.

“Nobody is going to be driving to Ottawa to buy their cannabis,” McLean said. “The fact of the matter is people will just continue going to where they’ve always been going and the black market is going to thrive for another year in Kingston.”

There are 50 or so cannabis stores established on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, which operate under Indigenous authority, but are technically illegal, according to the Ontario government.

More changes to the industry are expected this December but the provincial government hasn’t released details on whether that will be another lottery or a greater opening up of the market.

Until then, McLean’s store will continue to legally sell vaporizers and other cannabis accessories.

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