By Jonathan Bradley
Another new cannabis store is opening next to Ryerson, meaning students will have three nearby dispensaries to get their next high from.
On Feb. 25, HOBO Cannabis Company announced they will be adding 12 new retail locations across Ontario. The location near Ryerson will be at 330 Yonge St., across from the Sheldon and Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC).
Harrison Stoker, vice-president brand at the Donnelly Group, said he is pleased Hobo is opening a location near the university.
“We haven’t had any access to Toronto because the Ontario licensing system has been by lottery versus merit,” said Stoker. “And now it’s moving to a more merit-based, open allocation system. We’re really pumped to get into Toronto.”
With their 12 new stores, Hobo will have 15 locations in Ontario. The company already has five locations in British Columbia.
This HOBO location near Ryerson will be around other cannabis stores, such as The Hunny Pot, META, Tokyo Smoke and Canna Cabana.
“Wouldn’t you go to where the highest concentration of people are?”
Cameron Brown, the communications officer at The Hunny Pot, said this store is excited Hobo will be opening a location near them.
“We are happy to see the industry expanding,” said Brown. “There is more than enough market share in the industry for everyone. We are happy to see consumers with choice and increased access to legal cannabis products.”
Tokyo Smoke could not be reached in time for comment. Canna Cabana declined to comment.
Stoker said the new Yonge Street. location will be unique compared to other cannabis stores.
“Customer experience we feel is one of our key differentiators,” he said. “The environment that you’re in our stores, the overly personable staff that are really well trained. It’s really what sets us apart.”
Brad Poulos, a business management professor at Ryerson who also teaches the business of cannabis course at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, said it is unsurprising multiple cannabis stores are opening in downtown Toronto.
“If I gave you a license and said you could open up anywhere in Toronto, wouldn’t you go to where the highest concentration of people are?” said Poulos. “But that will actually saturate itself. So then the business opportunities that exist in the suburbs of Toronto or in smaller centres start to look attractive.”
He said cannabis stores love to target students because they’re the most likely to go to the stores to buy cannabis. “More young people than older people use cannabis. It sort of drops off over time,” he said.
Talha Hashmani, a second-year journalism student, said he will go to Hobo as long as they do not charge “more than $20 per gram.”
“Somebody else’s use of cannabis should not be looked down upon,” said Hashmani. “We’ve got cigarettes being sold in every convenience store near campus…Why should weed be treated any differently?”
A previous version of this story wrongfully stated Talha’s last name as Karim. Talha’s actual last name is Hashmani. The Eyeopener regrets this error.