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Ontario’s Criteria for Retail Cannabis Stores

One of the most fascinating and exciting topics to discuss in the burgeoning cannabis industry is regulation. Although the “r-word” may sound more bland than a bowl of cornflakes, nothing can be further from the truth. For with each decision, a little bit of history is made as marijuana further steps out of the shadows to take its place in the modern-day world.

Last week was no different when on November 14 the province of Ontario announced various new guidelines for brick-and-mortar dispensaries when they finally arrive.

The first of those rules did not come as much of a surprise, with any cannabis retailer needing to be at least 150 m from all schools. That includes private institutions and federally-funded First Nations schools as well.

Next, all cannabis stores must be stand-alone and cannot share space with another retailer. Further on that point for large entities looking to expand, any retail operator can open up to a maximum of 75 stores in total.

For opening and closing hours, stores can be open between 9 am to 11 pm any day of the week and all employees, management and licence holders must have approved retail training specifically in handling cannabis.

Finally and perhaps most obvious, all cannabis sold in these retail locations must be purchased from the Ontario Cannabis Store.

If you are an individual who wants a retail license, there are three types you must have to be in business. The first is the Retail Operator Licence, which is the permission to open and operate a retail cannabis store.

The second permit that burgeoning dispensary owners need is the Retail Store Authorization. This is required for every new store that is planned and gives local residents the ability to be heard as to whether or not they want a cannabis store in their neighbourhood. Finally, all stores must have a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence which means the manager has met the criteria to operate a cannabis retail outlet.

The application process for stores in Ontario will begin on Dec. 17 and outlets are planned for April 2019.

Following is a link for further information: https://www.agco.ca/cannabis/private-retail-licensing-and-regulation

Photo by Priscilla Jordão from São Paulo, Brasil

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