File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / SoruEpotokFile photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / SoruEpotok

New cannabis shops planned for Blenheim, Amherstburg, Chatham

With the intention of tapping underserved areas, a cannabis retail company is looking to open Blenheim's first legal pot shop, with two other stores planned for nearby communities.

Higher Limits Cannabis Company has applied for the licenses to open a legal dispensary at 52 Catherine St. Unit 4 in Blenheim. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has since issued notice to the public to give local residents an opportunity to voice any concerns on matters relating to the public interest.

The company also has plans to open stores at 400 Sandwich St. S, Unit 1300 in Amherstburg and at 170 McNaughton Ave. W, Unit 9 in Chatham.

President and Chief Financial Officer Greg Kazarian said his company has notified the AGCO that they would like to open the Blenheim location on June 30, and have the Amherstburg store open its doors on July 15. The application for the Chatham location is still pending.

"This will ultimately boil down to our ability to be ready as well as passing AGCO inspections, subject to their availability. AGCO is currently allowed to authorize five stores a week," Kazarian said in an email interview.

Kazarian, who has been a Chatham-Kent resident for most of his life and currently lives in Ridgetown, said Blenheim was an easy choice.

"It is closer to home for me, and we chose it over Ridgetown as a lot of area residents travel to Blenheim for many of their needs," he said. "We also understood that Blenheim is central enough to service some of the surrounding communities like Charing Cross, Erieau, and Rondeau."

Kazarian added that he and his wife, JoDee, had purchased the property in Blenheim for her to move her massage therapy clinic into, and the building ended up having enough space for the dispensary as well.

In an effort to provide residents with more convenient access to legal and safe cannabis products, Kazarian said opening stores in less populated and underserved areas has been one of the company's goals.

He added that it is also important for the company to "buy local, build local, [and] hire local." Kazarian said between all three stores, the company is planning to provide more than 25 jobs for local residents, however, the COVID-19 pandemic could delay the hiring process.

Moving forward, Higher Limits Cannabis Company has big plans for expansion.

"Provided that these initial locations perform well, [CEO Phil Bradbury] and I have done extensive research on dozens of communities in Southern Ontario, from Windsor, all the way to the Northern limits of Huron County... [We] fully plan to expand the company's reach through additional locations," said Kazarian. "As the industry matures and the market continues to grow, we will carefully select the communities that remain underserved and we will keep a firm grasp on our goal of providing quality products at what we expect will be industry-leading prices."

Anyone living in Blenheim, Amherstburg or Chatham who would like to take park in the public notice process can visit the AGCO website by clicking here.

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