Ontario Moving Forward with Next Round of Cannabis Stores
Lottery Adds 50 New Stores
The Ontario Government is taking the next step to combat the illegal market and protect our youth and communities by moving to the next phase of its plan to license private cannabis retail stores. This is in response to the federal government’s legalization of cannabis and marginal improvements in the federally licensed supply of cannabis.
Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Doug Downey, Attorney General, announced last Wednesday , July 3rd, that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the provincial regulator for cannabis retail storefronts, has been given regulatory authority to conduct a second lottery for 42 private cannabis retail store authorizations. Interested parties will be able to submit an expression of interest form online to the AGCO in summer 2019.
FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITIES
The Ontario Government has heard from First Nation communities interested in operating safe and secure retail outlets in their communities. That is why the government is moving forward with allocation of up to eight stores located on First Nations reserves, which will take place through a separate process on a first come, first served basis. The government continues to engage with First Nations interested in developing their own approaches to cannabis to identify how the government can best support efforts by these communities to promote public safety and legal access to cannabis.
“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 Minister 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 and help ensure the readiness of cannabis retail operator licence applicants. Prospective retailers must demonstrate that they have secured appropriate retail space that could be used as a cannabis retail store 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.
Detailed pre-qualification requirements and all application process and lottery timelines are available on the AGCO website.
– Of the 50 new private cannabis retail stores being licensed, the government is allocating eight stores to retailers who wish to operate on a First Nations reserve, and the remaining 42 stores allocated as follows:
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 licensing and store authorization process for stores on-reserve will take place through a separate process from the lottery, on a first come, first served basis, and begin in July 2019. Details regarding this process are available on the AGCO website.
– The 50 new private cannabis retail stores will be authorized upon meeting all requirements and approved to open on a rolling basis, beginning in October 2019, as they conclude their supply agreements with the Ontario Cannabis Store.
– To ensure the lottery and allocation process are conducted fairly, the AGCO will again employ a third-party fairness monitor.
Source: Ministry of the Attorney General http://www.ontario.ca/mag