Potential cannabis retailers can now enter a lottery to obtain one of Ontario’s first 25 licences to legally operate.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is accepting submissions until noon on Jan. 9th, and licences will be awarded by the weekend. The stores will be spread out in different regions, as follows:
- Five in the east region (which includes Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Prescott and Russell, Ottawa, Leeds and Grenville, Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, Hastings, Prince Edward, Northumberland, Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Simcoe, Muskoka, Haliburton and Renfrew)
- Six stores in the greater Toronto area (which includes Durham, York, Peel and Halton)
- Two in the north region (which includes Nipissing, Parry Sound, Sudbury, Greater Sudbury, Timiskaming, Cochrane, Algoma, Thunder Bay, Rainy River and Kenora)
- Five in the city of Toronto
- Seven in the west region (which includes Dufferin, Wellington, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Brant, Waterloo, Perth, Oxford, Elgin, Chatham-Kent, Essex, Lambton, Middlesex, Huron, Bruce, Grey and Manitoulin)
Even though 25 licences across the province will be awarded this weekend, municipalities still have until Jan. 22 to opt out of having cannabis storefronts within their borders.
The number of cannabis store licences in Ontario will be capped at 25 until the end of 2019.
CMHA Ontario feels it’s important government makes harm reduction associated with cannabis use a priority, recommending a public health approach. In particular, CMHA Ontario suggests taking a zero-tolerance approach to cannabis consumption in any motorized vehicle (including drivers and passengers of any age), placing strict rules on advertising and marketing of cannabis products similar to the restrictions in place on tobacco products, implementing a comprehensive public awareness initiative on ways to reduce harms of cannabis consumption, directing revenue from cannabis sales to mental health and addictions services and ensuring youth are diverted from the criminal justice system if found in possession of cannabis.
Read more about CMHA Ontario’s recommended public health approach to cannabis here: https://ontario.cmha.ca/news/cmha-ontario-recommends-public-health-approach-to-cannabis