There are more than 30 cannabis shops spread out around Ontario and while there are currently only two in Barrie, there several more being considered through applications to the province.
There are eight applications in the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) database for Barrie.
Which begs the question: How many can the city bear?
One of those proposed shops is another Star Buds Cannabis Co. store at 500 Huronia Rd., in the city's south end. The first Star Buds opened at 181 Livingstone St. E. on June 13; company team member Chris Jones says the second one will hopefully open in August.
Jones says he isn’t concerned about the other proposals and points to other municipalities around North America as why.
“I do not feel like there are too many stores trying to open in Barrie right now,” Jones told BarrieToday. “Looking at statistics and information from more developed places — Colorado, California and Alberta — you can have approximately one store per 10,000 people and with the population of the Greater Barrie Area being close to 200,000, they should be able to accomodate about 19 stores total.”
But Star Buds isn't the only application in, as seven others are pending approval.
Happy Dayz (79 Dunlop St. W.), Miss Jones (400 Bayfield St.), City Cannabis Co. (130 Dunlop St. E.), Cannabis Supply Co. (62 Commerce Park Dr.), The Underground Ontario (408 Dunlop St. W.) and The Den Cannabis Store (190 Minet's Point Rd.) are all awaiting word on their next step.
The first shop to open its doors in Barrie was One Plant on Essa Road, located at the intersection of Ardagh Road.
Jones knows how much goes into a cannabis retail store and believes time and money have a way of weeding out those who can’t handle the new business model.
“I also do not think that every store that is in the process of opening will actually open," he said. "The licensing process is challenging, and if you've never gone through it before, you will run into a lot of unexpected costs and delays.
“Looking at the entire list of stores in the process, if the government continues to only issue five per week and there are over 500 in the process of opening, that means there could be about a two-year wait for some people, and that is only if no more stores get into the process of opening.”
Susan Morrow, who has been using cannabis for many years for different ailments, says she hopes Barrie leads the way in “normalizing” success in the business.
"I don’t see a problem with it," she told BarrieToday. "I have three grandchildren and work at a prominent business just outside of Barrie. There is no problem having just as many cannabis stores in town as there are places that sell alcohol.”