Former Compassion House Owner Skeptical About Downtown Pot Shop

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The former owner of Compassion House is skeptical about a retail pot shop opening in downtown Windsor.

Cannabis activist Leo Lucier believes high prices and a lack of parking will make it tough to be successful.

In the province's latest retail pot shop lottery, a license was awarded for a store at 545 Ouellette Ave in the downtown core.

Lucier says it's going to be difficult to keep business steady.

"We're in some crazy times right now. That's a fact. Will it work? I highly doubt it. If they're looking to tap into the U.S. market, that's good, but that's only good for Thursday, Friday and Saturday and we see a lot of people don't go downtown anymore for a few reasons, the opioid crisis and the destruction of the downtown core."

He calls the licensing process unfair as well.

"You're going to need $50,000 cash up front and a $250,000 retainer and then the property on top of that. It's not geared to everybody and everyone the way it was supposed to be. We say it's geared to the rich. Who has a quarter million dollars laying around? Not too many people I know."

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Leo Lucier, owner of Compassion House, speaks with reporters before surrendering to Windsor police, November 7, 2018. (Peter Langille/AM800 News)

Lucier says, pot shop or not, he'll continue to push for affordable marijuana for those who need it.

"For the medical users, it doesn't work at all. I don't know too many people who will even be stepping foot in that place and a lot of it has to do with the price when they want $22 a gram. The black market, right now, you can get it for $3 a gram. So you'll keep going to where you've been going all along."

Compassion House was shut down by Windsor police in March for allegedly selling cannabis without a retail license.

Lucier says he wasn't breaking the law claiming he was giving product away for free to customers who provided a donation for a local charity.

— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi