In a statement released today the Ontario government announced changes to the licensing process for recreational retail cannabis stores in Ontario.
The statement released by Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Finance,says that licensing will be done in phases due to a shortage in the supply of cannabis.
The provincial government blames the federal government for the shortage and cites the examples of Alberta stopping to issue new licenses, reduced hours of stores in Quebec, as well as restricted availability at the online store.
“It is the federal government’s responsibility to oversee cannabis production and to provide a viable alternative to the illegal market by ensuring there is sufficient supply to meet consumer demand. Yet, we continue to see severe supply shortages across the country in legal, licensed recreational cannabis stores.”
Twenty five licenses will issued in the first phase to be ready to open for April 1,2019.
A lottery system will be put in place by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Interested parties will be able to submit an expression of interest form online to the AGCO from January 7 to January 9. The draw will take place on January 11th and be posted on the AGCO’s website within 24 hours. The lottery process will be overseen by a third-party. Details of the lottery can be found on the AGCO web site.
The lottery system is a temporary measure until the province believes the federal government can ensure enough reliable supply.
“Our government refuses to compromise the viability of Ontario businesses. Private retailers need certainty from the federal government that there will be a reliable supply of cannabis to support their business and combat the illegal market.”