The staff at Orillia based Happy Dayz aren't surprised they didn't win the cannabis retail license lottery.

On Friday, the Province of Ontario announced the first 25 companies that can apply for a Brick and Mortar cannabis license in the province; with only five licenses available in the eastern region which includes among others, Ottawa, Prince Edward County, Haliburton, and Muskoka.

Aaron Switzer, Happy Dayz Project Manager says the chances were slim but not winning has its benefits.

“It probably would have been easier to be struck by lightning than win the lottery, says Switzer. “The first 25 will be the ones going through all of the bumps and turns as this sort of irons itself out.”

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) says it received more than seventeen-thousand expressions of interest for the licenses earlier this week.

Little is known about the local winners of the cannabis retail lottery; Daniel Telio, Brandon Long,  Patterson and Lavoie, Karan Someshwar and Pure Alpha Holdings.

Aleem Kanji, Vice President of Sutherland Corporation Ltd. says of the twenty-five that did win, most are individuals, not large corporations.

“Almost sixty-five per cent of the people that ended up winning were entrepreneurs who have no experience in this industry previously,” said Kanji.

Switzer says he doesn’t know of the five chosen on our east region but says he’ll gladly partner with them in a variety of way.

Kanji says project managers like Switzer aren’t alone.

“I fully expect that (from) those individuals, they're gonna get inundated with financing offers,” says Kanji. “I think franchise agreements, that sort of thing from some of the big players.”

The winners of the cannabis lottery have five businesses days to turn in their applications along with a $6000 fee and $50,000 letter of credit.