Rapid growth of cannabis stores in Ont. will likely result in some closures: OCS

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TORONTO — The head of the Ontario Cannabis Store is warning that the rapid growth of pot shops will likely result in an overcrowded marketplace and some closures.

David Lobo, the interim president and chief executive of the province’s pot distributor, says competition will increase because 1,000 new cannabis stores are expected to open their doors by September.

In an annual report released this week with his comments, the distributor says Ontario had 572 pot shops across 122 regions as of March 31, but that number is poised to grow.

Western Ontario had 188 stores, followed by Toronto with 179, the east with 123, the Greater Toronto Area with 51 and the north with 31.

The OCS says the market continues to see a concentration of stores in Toronto, but the average distance between consumers and a cannabis shop has dropped to 6.5 kilometres from 19 kilometres across the province.

The OCS also says that in its latest quarter legal cannabis made up 44.1 per cent of market share in the province, up from 43.1 per cent in the prior quarter and 25.1 per cent in April 2020.