Ontario plans to have 50 more cannabis stores this fall

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Ontario residents can look forward to having 50 more cannabis retail storefronts this fall following the rollout of storefronts earlier in April.

The province announced on Wednesday that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will hold another lottery in August for applicants to obtain one of 42 licenses. Another eight will be distributed to various native reservations through a separate process.

The news comes even though there are still some of the first retail license holders who have not opened their stores yet. The applications process this time will be much more detailed to ensure that those who get a license are ready to open by October.  

“We want people to be in a position to execute on it when they win the draw,” said Downey. “We do have some examples of people who won in the draw last time and then had to go find partners to make it happen.”

Applicants entering the August lottery will have to prove they have already secured a retail space with enough capital to open it by October. They will also need a bank letter stating the applicant has access to $250,000 cash and another letter confirming they can get $50,000 standby credit.

When the province gave only 25 licenses in the first round in April, they were concerned about supply issues that have been plaguing the legal industry across the country since legalization occurred last October. The government believes those issues have begun to subside and that the province has room for more stores.

“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 Finance Minister Rod Phillips in a statement. “With marginal improvement in national supply, we are proceeding to issue up to 50 new cannabis store licences.”

The licenses will be distributed as following:

  • 7 stores in the East region
  • 6 stores in the GTA region
  • 13 stores in the Toronto Region
  • 11 stores in the West region
  • North region: One store in each of these cities: North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Kenora, Thunder Bay and Timmins.  

The stores will be allowed to open in any city within the region regardless of the population as long as the municipality did not previously opt out of having a store.

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