The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced today that it will be increasing their retail store authorizations to 80 a month. The increase began on December 7.
This is an increase from the previous number of 40 a month, which itself had been increased in September from 20 a month.
In a memo to industry, Thomas Haig, President and CEO of the Ontario Cannabis Store said the agency has begun issuing 20 new licenses a week, and will continue to monitor the market for the need for any future increases.
“The top priority for the OCS in the coming year is to grow legal access to cannabis in Ontario and support our licensed producers and authorized retail store partners,” said Haig. “Doubling the pace from 10 to 20 will allow us to continue to draw consumers to the legal market in more communities across the province. Moving forward, we will continue to work with the AGCO to assess our ability to increase the pace of the roll out further.
“The news of an increased pace of licensing in Ontario is positive for our ability to improve consumer access points and combat the illegal market,” he continued. “We know that demand continues to be hampered by lockdowns in Toronto and Peel, as well as a growing number of Covid-19 cases in other urban areas of the province. The OCS Supply Chain team will continue to build collaborative forecasts with our producer partners to do our best to right-size our inventory ask to align with demand.”
The OCS says that over the next two weeks, AGCO Eligibility Officers will be contacting all affected retail store applicants directly – starting with the ones that have the most imminent RSA issuance dates – to advise them of the new anticipated issuance date of their store authorizations.
To date, the AGCO has received over 1300 RSA applications. It has issued 305 RSAs and 269 authorized cannabis retail stores are currently open in the province. There are currently over 1100 active RSA applications still to be processed.
President and CEO, Ontario Cannabis Store