Ontario Gov't To Issue New Cannabis Licenses

The Government of Ontario is taking steps to more than triple the number of retail cannabis stores in the province.

The government of Premier Doug Ford has announced plans to issue 50 new cannabis retail licenses, a move that will more than triple the total number of brick-and-mortar cannabis stores throughout the province. The new stores are expected to open by this October.

Ontario had initially planned to open government-run cannabis stores, similar to how liquor is sold in Canada’s most populous province. However, the government changed course before legalization came into effect last fall and instead has allowed privately owned businesses to operate cannabis stores.

A lottery will be held in July to distribute the new licenses. If all 50 licenses are successfully issued, it would take Ontario’s total number of cannabis stores to 72. That would translate to one store per 200,000 people in the province.

In all, 13 of the new licenses will be given to stores in Toronto, with another six issued in the Greater Toronto Area. The remaining 23 licenses will be spread out across the rest of the province. Eight of the 50 licenses will be set aside for retailers wishing to open on Indigenous reserves. The licensing for indigenous stores will take place through a separate first-come-first-served process.