The Tragically Hip-backed pot producer Up Cannabis plans to have an “experiential hub” inside one of Ontario’s first legal recreational weed stores located in the band’s hometown of Kingston.
The cannabis company says its “store within a store” will be in a shop operated by Spirit Leaf Inc., which has signed an agreement with one of the lottery winners selected to apply for the initial 25 retail licences in Ontario.
The retailer already has Spiritleaf stores in Alberta and Saskatchewan and plans to open its first Ontario location in the heart of Kingston on April 1, when private cannabis retail shops are set to open across the province.
Members of the Canadian rock band are stakeholders in Newstrike Brands Ltd., the parent company of Up Cannabis, which recently entered into an investment agreement with Spirit Leaf’s parent company, Inner Spirit Holdings.
“Up Cannabis’ ties to Kingston run deep as the hometown of our partners, The Tragically Hip, with many special milestones in our company’s history taking place there … We’re excited to see the stars aligning for both our brands as the Ontario retail marketplace takes shape,” said Jay Wilgar, chief executive of both Newstrike and Up Cannabis in a statement.
Under the deal, both Newstrike and Inner Spirit acquired equity interests in each other and Spiritleaf stores will distribute Up Cannabis products, as well as feature branded customer lounges or experiential hubs as regulations allow.
In Ontario, a retail licence cannot be issued to a corporation if more than 9.9 per cent of it is owned by one or more licensed cannabis producers or their affiliates.