Ontario government announces new lottery for 42 cannabis stores
Weed should be just a little bit easier to procure this autumn (at least legally) thanks to Doug Ford's PC government and a whopping 50 new cannabis stores across Ontario.
The province announced this morning that it has given the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario "regulatory authority to conduct a second lottery for 42 private cannabis retail store authorizations."
Eight additional retail outlets will be allocated to First Nations reserves on a first come, first served basis, though this will be done through an entirely separate process.
In other words, the controversial lottery system for selecting who gets licensed to sell recreational weed in Ontario cities lives on — but with some key modifications.
"For this next phase, the government has established new pre-qualification requirements that will streamline the licensing process with the AGCO and help ensure the readiness of cannabis retail operator licence applicants," reads a press release issued by the province Wednesday morning.
Looking to cash in on the green gold rush? You'll need some gold in hand to start.
"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," writes the government.
Interested parties will be able to submit an expression of interest this summer through the AGCO's website, which states that applicants must be prepared to operate a store "as early as October 2019."
Of the 42 new licenses being issued through the government's second cannabis lottery, 13 will be allocated to Toronto and six more to the GTA.
As to why they're not following the advice of experts and lifting the cap entirely, new Attorney General Doug Downey said the following:
"Despite the ongoing federal cannabis supply shortages, Ontario is taking further action to protect young people, keep our roads and communities safe and combat the illegal market in response to the federal government's decision to legalize cannabis."
He added, "While the federal supply issues persist, we cannot in good conscience issue an unlimited number of licences to businesses. A phased-in approach remains necessary."
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