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Ontario Opens Lottery for First 25 Retail Cannabis Licenses

The 25-license limit is “only temporary” and is intended to ensure a constant supply of cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

Ontario, Canada opened its application process on Monday for businesses seeking one of the province’s 25 initial retail cannabis licenses, The Canadian Press reports.

Ontario has limited the initial number of licenses due to potential supply issues.

“We know that putting out 25 stores, which is the amount of cannabis that we can guarantee receiving, is the right way to go. This is only temporary. Once the federal government can guarantee a better supply then we know we’ll begin to issue more licenses as we go along.” — Vic Fedeli, via The Canadian Press

Currently, Ontario is one of the few provinces in Canada that, so far, has only allowed cannabis sales via a government website. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will adjudicate the awarding of licenses for future retail shops.

The AGCO has significant power over licensees. They can, for instance, levy a $25,000 fine if businesses fail to launch cannabis sales on time, which — alongside other potential fines for failing to meet certain criteria — is expected to scare off any less-than-completely-serious applicants.

Licenses are being issued geographically: five in eastern Ontario (which includes the city of Ottawa), seven in western Ontario, two for the northern section of the province, then five for the outskirts of Toronto, and five in Toronto proper.

A $75 fee and an “expression of interest” application to the AGCO is required by Friday. Winners of the lottery will then be announced within 24 hours. The potential licensees will then have five days to submit a full application, a $6,000 licensing fee, and proof of credit to a minimum of $50,000.

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