November 2019
Ontario Retail Cannabis Stores to Move to Open Market System Instead of Lottery

2019-11-22 11:25:35 AM

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that the province’s cannabis retail stores will be opened up to the market and move away from its initial lottery system.

While Premier Ford did not specify how many stores will be opened, he did indicate they will open in the New Year. By letting the market decide, Premier Ford believes this will increase the number of legal cannabis stores in Ontario.

Earlier this month, the Ontario Cannabis Policy Council (OCPC), a group of industry leaders organized by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, urged the province to change its approach to private retail stores to one that would create more stores, such as an open allocation of licenses.   

Due to a shortage in supply and competition with the black market, the roll out of retail stores has been slow with the government’s trying unsuccessfully to reach 75 stores in the second lottery phase. Ontario currently has 24 retail stores since cannabis was legalized last year while other provinces have hundreds, such as Alberta with 301.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips confirmed the plan and added there is a focus to ensure it is done safely and in a timely manner.

Moving to an open market will require approval from municipal governments and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

For more information, please see below:

CBC News: Ontario to Scrap Pot Shop Lottery System, Will Open More Stores in New Year

AMCTO: Ontario Announces Next Phase of Private Retail Cannabis Stores

AMCTO: Ontario to Phase In Cannabis Retail Licensing


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