Number of cannabis stores along Queen Street East has residents and industry members concerned – Beach Metro Community News
The opening of a cannabis store on the southeast corner of Woodbine Avenue and Queen Street East, the long-time home of a Pizza Pizza store, is causing concern for a number of reasons.
By ALEXANDROS VAROUTAS
Ryan Shanahan has lived at the beach for almost 25 years and is worried about the growing number of cannabis shops opening around him.
Specifically, he is concerned about the opening of the proposed store at 1881 Queen Street East, where the old Pizza Pizza was located on the southeast corner of Woodbine Avenue and Queen Street East.
“I’m not a cannabis user and I’m not anti-cannabis, but I’m ‘Pro Drug Free Kids’,” he told Beach Metro News in an email. “A big advertisement in front of the consumption of cannabis at the doors of the community of Beaches is not an everyday image that I want to implant in the minds of my young children.
Shanahan was asked to send the email after walking past the mural in the new store with her children, her 10-year-old son mistaking it for a pet store due to the inviting giant swan in the artwork.
“It’s not a pet store, it’s a weed store,” his other son said.
Shanahan’s concern has not gone unnoticed by Beaches-East York adviser Brad Bradford, but, as he pointed out in a statement from his office, there is little he can do.
“As most people know, the city cannot regulate the location of cannabis stores beyond what is provided for in provincial regulations,” he said. “Under the current regime, due to provincial law, the city cannot pass bylaws limiting or restricting the location of stores in any way beyond what is provided for in provincial legislation.
There are also those within the cannabis industry who are beginning to – or have long ago – questioned the policies surrounding the operation of these stores.
Jessica Ewert is a Beach resident herself and has worked in the cannabis industry since day one in Toronto.
Ewert is also concerned about the number of cannabis stores opening in the area, but for different reasons.
“I don’t think there’s a need for another pot store in the beaches or anywhere near Queen Street East anymore,” she told Beach Metro News.
With the current laws in place, there are very few opportunities for each store to differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd, whether through services, products, or even marketing.
Those who do stand out are usually asked whether their approach meets the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) guidelines.
Ewert believes that instead of just leaving countless dispensaries open in every part of the city, cannabis shops should be allowed to explore different areas of business.
Consumer cafes, in-store events, coffee shops, fresh baked goods, infused cuisine: Ewert said all of these things open up opportunities for people to create their own niche.
“But since we don’t, we are all selling the same product and we all have to buy from OCS at the same price. It has become, essentially, a price reduction contest, ”she said.
Ewert said stores that once had average sales of over $ 20,000 a day now have the chance to go over $ 5,000 on a good day.
Market saturation pushed prices down.
“[They’ve] now changed their whole format to a ‘budget of value’ their whole niche is to sell rock bottom prices because they are owned by a big company which gives them the financing to undermine any other private business or small independent business ”, a she declared.
“If you are next to one of these valuable bud stores, you are in real trouble.”
In this way, Shanahan and Ewert essentially share the same vision: a more focused approach to the deployment of the cannabis store; quality rather than quantity.
The question is whether something will be done before the problem gets out of hand.
“It has nothing to do with whether or not we think cannabis should be legal or not – it certainly should be – but everything to do with how we make sure our main streets can stay safe. vibrant and interesting places to visit, ”Bradford said in his statement.
“We don’t want other types of businesses to be squeezed out by high store rents which may or may not last too long into the future. Considering the number of stores open, one has to wonder how many will be able to survive. “