Be prepared to open your Cannabis Retail Store in Ontario


The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is going to be regulating private cannabis retailing in Ontario and they are working really hard to get ready for a quick roll out.

Good news is they are preparing to accept online applications by mid-December!

There will be a series of educational webinars coming to the AGCO website along with summaries of the required application information.  Also AGCO have been busy doing their homework and they are close to publishing a guide online to help entrepreneurs prepare for applying and running their stores.

They plan to publish in real time so that new chapters to this guide will be posted as it becomes available.  You can subscribe to receive email updates from AGCO to be first to know when the materials are published.

If you have plans to open, run or even work in an ONTARIO Cannabis ‘store’ you will need to learn and comply with the rules and regulations.  This will include mandatory training.

The guide is set to include the following chunks of content:

  • The Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 and its regulations
  • The Registrars Standards, which will govern the operation of retail stores
  • Licence and authorization types, the application process and fees
  • The one-time option municipalities have to prohibit cannabis stores from operating in their jurisdiction
  • The public notice process related to the authorization of retail stores
  • AGCO inspections to ensure store readiness
  • The mandatory training that all cannabis store employees will have to successfully complete
  • Allowable advertising and promotional activities

Things to note! The Government of Ontario has set up a licensing and regulatory framework described below.

  • Retailers will not be permitted to allow anyone under the age of 19 to enter their stores
  • Specific instances in which applicants will be denied a licence include
    • if you have a cannabis-related criminal offences
    • if you are tied to an individual or organization who has an association with organized crime.
    • if you were running an illegal cannabis location after October 17, 2018
    • if you are not in good standing on tax compliance
  • A requirement for all private recreational cannabis retail storefronts to be stand-alone stores only
  • Individuals with a store authorization, cannabis retail managers and all retail employees will be required to complete the approved training to ensure that any individual who works in the cannabis retail market is trained in the responsible sale of cannabis
  • There must be a distance of 150 metres (approximately 500 feet) between cannabis retail stores and schools, First Nation schools off-reserve
  • Hours of operation are between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on any day
  • 75 location maximum is set

Remember folks, until April, cannabis can only be legally purchased from the online Ontario Cannabis Store.

Good luck on your application to become a Cannabis Retailer in Ontario and keep us posted on your store openings!


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