The latest announcement from the provincial government on the licensing of cannabis stores came out this week, with 50 more stores planned for the province as part of a second lottery.
The lottery is being conducted by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the provincial regulator for cannabis retail storefronts. Interested parties will be able to submit an expression of interest form online to the AGCO this summer.
Eight of those operations are planned for First Nations reserves, with 42 in private hands.
The government has also established new pre-qualification requirements for would-be applicants. “Prospective retailers must demonstrate that they have secured appropriate retail space that could be used as a cannabis retail store and that they have access to enough capital required to open a cannabis retail store,” read the announcement. “Licensed retail stores may now be opened in any municipality regardless of population size, granted the municipality did not opt-out of the retail cannabis market.”
From the previous lottery, a total of 84 applications for cannabis retail operations were submitted from addresses in Huntsville, Bracebridge, Parry Sound, and Haliburton. 27 of those applications were for stores in the East Region, though it is unknown if those applications would be meant for operations in any of the four towns.
As for the second lottery, the licensing and store authorization would be happening in July. The 50 stores would open on a rolling basis throughout October.
Written by James Wood