Three weed stores could open within 200m of one another thanks to a bizarre quirk of Ontario’s cannabis retail lottery process.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced the 42 lucky winners of the lottery process this week after receiving 4,864 submissions in total. The sprawling eastern section of the province was awarded seven licences, but three of them are all on the same street in the town of Innisfil.

Many larger towns received no licences, so observers are baffled to see cannabis stores approved for locations at 2008, 1988, and 1982 Commerce Park Drive. They are all within 200m of one another and some social media users gleefully pointed out that Donovan Bailey could have run between them in less than 20 seconds in his prime.

The applicants were randomly selected using a third-party-certified AGCO lottery software program, according to its release. Auditor KPMG was appointed “fairness monitor” and it was present to assess whether the process was conducted fairly.

Some members of the Twitterati suspected foul play, while others speculated on the effect it would have on real estate prices on Commerce Park Drive, Innisfil. But it is more likely an unwanted, unintended consequence of the random lottery draw.

It remains to be seen whether all three will open within a stone’s throw of one another, or if they might be able to negotiate with AGCO.

Ronen Ackerman is named as the winner of the licence for the proposed store at 2008 Commerce Park Drive, while German Olga would be at 1988 and Ilim Uzunova could theoretically open at 1982.

The street already has a few stores, including DeWildt Marine & Powersports, Southern Comfort HVAC, Royal Homes Design Centre, Herbert’s Boots & Western Wear and Hot Tub Mart. It is a reasonably built up area, so the stores could in theory attract customers from places like Barrie, Midhurst, Minesing, New Tecumseth, and Newmarket, but three stores in such a small area seems somewhat excessive.

Lottery winners have until Aug. 28, 2019, to apply for a cannabis Retail Operator Licence and a Retail Store Authorization, and stores are expected to begin opening in October.

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