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FSD Pharma Inc., says it is investing $1.3 million in Huge Shops to help with the company’s plans to convert some Coffee Time locations into cannabis retail stores in Ontario.

The cannabis producer says Huge Shops has the option to acquire at least 10 Coffee Time locations, with the option to purchase additional sites through the coffee chain’s parent company, Chairman’s Brands. There are 75 Coffee Time locations in Canada.

FSD Pharma says the investment in Huge Shops gives the company access to a “network with a well-established consumer base.”

The plans for the stores, to be branded and operated independently from Coffee Time, are contingent on Huge Shops being granted the necessary approval by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Last week, the Ontario government announced it will initially issue up to 25 licences in January for cannabis stores selected by lottery, ahead of the first day of private retail sales on April 1.

Currently, Ontario residents can only legally buy cannabis through the government-run website, the Ontario Cannabis Store.

“We’ve been observing closely what’s been happening in the Cannabis space and what other brands have been doing within the coffee space,” said Steve Michalopoulos, vice-president of brand development at Chairman’s Brands in a statement.

“Aligning our coffee brand with Huge Shops presents opportunity to carefully evaluate our real estate network and potentially maximize the real estate to the benefit of all stakeholders.”

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