Last week, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) issued the first round of cannabis retail operator licences. Four approved locations have been revealed: The Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. on Toronto’s Queen Street West, The Niagara Herbalist in St. Catharines, Central Cannabis in London, and Ganjika House in Brampton. As of March 11, three of the four locations have been issued a Retail Store Authorization. Central Cannabis is still awaiting its authorization.
There is a two-step licensing process for cannabis stores in Ontario. First, the AGCO confirms if an applicant is eligible to operate a store in Ontario. If eligible, the applicant is issued a Retail Operator Licence. Next, the store must meet all regulatory requirements, like a 15-day public interest process and minimum distance from schools. If approved, the applicant will be issued a Retail Store Authorization.
From there, the licensed operator can finalize their store set-up and order and receive cannabis product and accessories. Stores cannot open for business until April 1. They must also undergo a pre-opening inspection by the AGCO prior to opening.
The Ontario government has said all 25 stores will open on April 1; if stores fail to do so, they could be subject to thousands in fines. A full status update on the 25 cannabis retail store applications in Ontario can be found here.
Photo courtesy of Scott Webb.