Ontario to ‘double pace’ of cannabis retail store authorizations

| Staff

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) says they will begin efforts to double the pace of retail cannabis authorizations beginning this fall.

In an announcement made today, the government agency says they will soon be contacting any affected retail applications to ensure they are prepared for any changes to the timing of their potential application authorizations.

Last December the Ontario government announced that beginning in April 2020, the AGCO would begin issuing up to 20 retail store authorizations (RSA’s) per month. To date, the AGCO has issued 164 RSAs to date and 150 stores are currently open.

Despite being the largest province in Canada, with a population of about 15 million, out of Canada’s total population of 38 million, Ontario had zero brick-and-mortar cannabis stores for the first six months of legalization, and then only had about 24, issued under a lottery until last fall when the province began issuing new licences.

By comparison, Alberta, with a population of about four million, has over 500 stores and BC with a population of about five million has about 250 stores listed as open.

Ontario recently said they are also prepared to begin accepting applications for direct ‘farm gate’ sales for cannabis producers to sell on site.