50 New Cannabis Stores Coming to Ontario
Although Mississauga has said no (for now, at least) to cannabis shops because it wants more time to study the private store model, other municipalities have welcomed the stores—and it looks like quite a few more are coming to Ontario in the not-too-distant future.
The Ontario government just announced that it's moving to the next phase of its plan to license private cannabis retail stores.
Cannabis has been legal in Canada since Oct. 2018, and a small number of province-approved brick and mortar stores have been operational since April 2019.
Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Doug Downey, Attorney General, announced today that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the provincial regulator for cannabis retail storefronts, will conduct a second lottery for 42 private cannabis retail store authorizations.
Here is where the next few stores will be located:
- East Region: seven stores
- GTA Region: six stores
- Toronto Region: 13 stores
- West Region: 11 stores
- North Region: One store in each of the following cities: Kenora, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Timmins
The new private cannabis retail stores will be authorized upon meeting all requirements and approved to open on a rolling basis, beginning in October 2019.
Interested parties will be able to submit an expression of interest form online to the AGCO in summer 2019.
The province is also moving forward with the allocation of up to eight stores on First Nations reserves.
“Our government is continuing to take a responsible approach to opening cannabis stores across Ontario, allowing private sector businesses to build a safe and convenient retail system to combat the illegal market,” said Phillips. “With marginal improvements in national supply, we are proceeding to issue up to 50 new cannabis store licences.”
For this next phase, the government has established new pre-qualification requirements that will streamline the licensing process with the AGCO.
The province says prospective retailers must prove that they've secured retail space and that they have access to enough capital required to open a cannabis retail store.
Licensed retail stores may now be opened in any municipality regardless of population size, granted the municipality did not opt-out of the retail cannabis market (so no new stores will be permitted to open in Mississauga until the city formally opts-in).
To learn more about how to qualify, click here.
The licensing and store authorization process for stores on First Nation reserves will take place through a separate process from the lottery, on a first-come, first-served basis, and begin in July 2019.
To ensure the lottery and allocation process are conducted fairly, the AGCO will again employ a third-party fairness monitor.
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