Out of the 414 municipalities in Ontario that made the decision to opt in or out of cannabis retail, only 77 chose to abstain from the opportunity.
On Tuesday, the deadline to inform the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario arrived and with it came the appearance of enthusiasm, or at the very least acceptance, of the fact that recreational retail cannabis is almost here. Less than 20% of Ontario’s municipalities chose not to have retail cannabis.
330 municipalities are now viable candidates for a portion of the 25 stores expected to be open by April 1, 2019. Some of the larger cities that chose to prohibit stores were Mississauga, Markham, Vaughan, and Oakville. Some regions indicated they are taking a wait-and-see approach, implying that they might opt-in next round.
Ontario has agreed to invest $40 million over the next two years to help with costs of legalization, with each municipality receiving $10,000 or more. The 77 municipalities that chose not to have stores will receive $5,000 each.
Once the lottery period for the first cannabis retail stores ends on December 19, 2019, it is expected that the retail market will grow further. In the meantime, retailers will be permitted to open near areas that have chosen to opt-out, which can almost guarantee business from the dry region.