The Ontario PC Government Limits Initial Round of Retail Licenses to 25

December 21st 2018,

Last week’s announcement by the AGCO and provincial government was shocking news for many cannabis entrepreneurs in cannabis retail. Many business owners have spent money getting shops prepared and their applications ready for submission, and since the AGCO is no longer accepting applications beginning on December 17th, preparations have come to a pause.

The AGCO has announced that instead of opening the application to everyone, they will limit the initial round of applications to 25 applicants selected by lottery. The lottery will be carried out by a third party fairness monitor, and details on the entry process is expected to be announced in the next webinar, scheduled for the first week of January.

According to the AGCO, the lottery will open on January 7th. Until January 9th, prospective applicants will be able to submit an “expression of interest” which will act as their lottery “ticket.” At this time, we do not know any further requirements to that expression of interest. The AGCO has scheduled another webinar to reveal these details in early January.

On January 11th, the lottery will be drawn and the 25 selected will win the opportunity to apply to the AGCO. Meaning, that winning the lottery in no way guarantees you a retail operator license– you still must apply, and all AGCO refusals to issue a license are final.

Doug Ford has said that Licensed Producers of cannabis have fallen short of their commitments, and that his government is approaching every licensed producer in the country, with the intention of distributing any and all cannabis.  The Federal government has said they expect the supply issues to be sorted out within one year. The AGCO has said that they will await direction from the Ontario government before starting another round of retail applications.