In the downtown core of Kitchener, there are more than a few cannabis stores.
One particular area will eventually grab your attention once the stores are set up, according the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's interactive map of licensed cannabis businesses.
On King Street West from Gaukel Street to Ontario Street, there will be no less than five cannabis stores should they all progress successfully (one is in the public notice period). If you count The Cannabist Shop on the far corner of King and Gaukel, that makes six.
This cluster is a perfect example of why local mayors are calling for regulation from the province around distancing those shops.
"Sure, some cannabis shops, have a liquor store, have a grocery store, have some restaurants and retail stores, it's that kind of variety that creates kind of a vibrancy and an economically successful downtown," said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, who worries these new business owners are being set up to fail. "Seeing businesses fail is not in our interest, nor the province's interest. I think it would be very prudent on the province's part to, in fact, listen to us on the ground, and actually look at putting some distance separations in."
Kitchener council recently passed a motion in that regard. They've also been calling for these regulations since near the beginning of legalization, but are feeling like their calls have fallen on deaf ears.
Five cannabis stores are either open or slated to open in Uptown Waterloo, with many more in the rest of the city. Mayor Dave Jaworsky called it a simple case of over-supply for the market.
"Over the pandemic, people have been buying lots of pets, there's going to be a big need for grooming services, and I think those types of places could be popping up throughout our community," Jaworsky said. "But certainly not cannabis shops. There's already, in my view, far too many."