As the entire Canadian cannabis industry walked the exhibition floor during the opening of the LIFT Expo in Vancouver on Friday, much of the industry buzz hovered over Ontario. For that day was the long-awaited lottery where 25 lucky winners would be granted the historic opportunity to be among the first retail outlets to sell cannabis in the province.
Soon to be famous names that include The Niagara Herbalist, CGS Foods, and Pure Alpha Holdings now officially have 5 days to present a non-refundable $6,000 along with a $50,000 letter of credit in order to move forward in the process.
Five licenses will be headed to eastern Ontario, seven to the west, two in northern Ontario, six in the GTA, and five in Toronto proper.
The winning applicants must now go through the rest of the process and be ready to open by April 1, 2019. Failure to do so will result in significant fines, such as a $25,000 fine if the store is not selling cannabis by April 30th.
Although the number of stores was capped at 25, Attorney General Caroline Mulroney said Friday that the hold will be removed once the federal government addresses the national cannabis shortage that has existed since shortly after legalization.
“Certainly we need to see more stores in place across the province, but given the national supply shortage and the amount of supply that we currently have, we believed that we need to do this in an equitable way,” she says.
The full list of lottery winners is available on the AGCO website.