Matt Maurer speaks to the Ottawa Citizen about the opening of the first bricks-and-mortar pot shops in Ontario

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The locations of the first three bricks-and-mortar pot shops in Ontario have been posted for public comment.

The stores are the Ganjika House in Brampton, The Niagara Herbalist in St. Catharines and Ameri in Toronto.

The shops will be operated by winners of a lottery held nearly a month ago to select 25 lucky people who were given the right to apply for a licence.

The province is temporarily limiting the number of stores because of a shortage of marijuana for the recreational market.

The shop names and locations were posted Wednesday morning on the website of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which is responsible for licensing.

Residents in those cities and the municipal governments have 15 days to comment on the locations. The grounds for objecting, though, are limited to arguments that the stores might pose a risk to public health and safety.

The posting did not specify which lottery winners were operating the stores.

No store locations for Ottawa have been posted, and it’s not known yet how many shops the city will get, if any. There were five lottery winners in Eastern Ontario. They can chose locations in any city with a population of more than 50,000 that has opted in to allowing cannabis stores. That includes Ottawa, Kingston, Belleville, Barrie, Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes.

It’s been nearly a month since the Jan. 11 lottery.

Ontario still plans to have 25 privately run shops open by April 1, says a spokesperson for the AGCO.

Matt Maurer, a Toronto lawyer who represents “multiple” lottery winners, says all of them expect to open on time, barring uncontrollable circumstances such as a delay in getting a building permit.

This article was originally published in the Ottawa Citizen. To read the complete article, visit the Ottawa Citizen’s website.

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