THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay’s first cannabis retail outlet has been given the go-ahead by the Ontario government, despite concerns over its location raised by the city of Thunder Bay and others. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has confirmed that a Tokyo Smoke location on Memorial Avenue, across from the Intercity Shopping Centre, has been issued a Retail Store Authorization.
The ministry received several community submissions regarding the proposed site, in a strip mall that also contains a Hakim Optical store, Pita Pit, and the Fat Panda vape shop, among other stores. The city had opposed the location due to its proximity to YES Employment, because the organization serves what the city calls “vulnerable youth," including those facing barriers like poverty, homelessness, and discrimination.
That opposition came despite the location meeting all criteria in a policy the city had passed on cannabis retail locations, such as being at least 150 metres from daycares, LCBOs, shelter and group homes, parks, and waterways. YES Employment does not fall into one of those categories, though it is located less than 150 metres from the proposed location.
In a letter obtained by Tbnewswatch, the province did not provide any reasoning for its decision to approve the location. The letter was sent to parties who had submitted feedback on the proposed site.
The Tokyo Smoke outlet will be the first cannabis store to open in Thunder Bay. The Ontario company operates a number of such outlets across the province.