Surprising Wins from Ontario’s Latest Cannabis Retail Lottery

cafe cannabis
Jesse Milns/Leafly

When the AGCO announced the most recent 42 winners of Ontario’s lottery to decide who may apply for cannabis retail licenses, insiders were quick to identify quirks and anomalies among the list of winners.

For some, what jumped out were the three stores approved in Innisfill, Ontario (population 36,566)—not only are they located on the same street but three different applicants received approval for stores at 1982, 1988, and 2008 Commerce Park Drive.

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Others wondered about the members of the Uzunova family—one of whom, Ilim Uzunova, received approval for one of the three addresses mentioned above, while the other, Ekrem Uzunova, was approved in Oshawa.

Still others noted the approval of an address once planned for a Scarborough outlet of former Premier Kathleen Wynne’s canceled government-run Ontario Cannabis Stores.

The strip mall in which the store was to be located was within 400 metres from a public school, the proximity over which Doug Ford attacked Wynne during last year’s provincial election. At the time, Ford promised he would not allow cannabis to be sold “beside schools […] It was beside a school on Wynne’s watch.”

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But certainly the hottest topic of discussion was the approval for a numbered corporation whose store is to be located at 104 Harbord in Toronto—the site of one location of the controversial and combative unlicensed CAFE dispensary, among the first to have its front entirely barricaded with cement blocks by police and bylaw enforcers attempting to make it impossible for the store to reopen.

The numbered corporation, 11180673 Canada, was incorporated in January by film producer Robert Heydon at an address in Hamilton’s Stoney Creek suburb that appears on Google Street View to be a single family home.

Along with the winning numbered corporation, Heydon has registered other businesses at the same address, including the TV/film-financing company LAZARUS EFFECTS, and Kind Farms, incorporated only last month.

Heydon appears to have no clear connection to CAFE’s owners—one a flamboyant, Lamborghini-driving former wrestler, the other a former ace counterfeiter previously known for producing and introducing fake $100-bills across Canada in the early 2000s.

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Since the AGCO has the right to withhold licenses from application winners, lawyer Trina Fraser noted the applicants could expect a refusal and subsequent court challenge if there is any relationship revealed between them and the owners of CAFE.

In an email, lawyer Jack Lloyd appeared to confirm the same company responsible for CAFE was behind this application when he said, “CAFE a member of the [Canadian Cannabis Retailers’ Union] has been successful in the lottery process for its application.”

But CAFE was not the only surprising winner of the lottery.

Other names of winners that provoked comment were those of Cory Floyd Cacciavillani, son of Aphria co-founder turned major shareholder Cole Cacciavillani, and Najla Guthrie, CEO of KGK Science, whose parent company is Auxly Cannabis.