Win­ners of re­tail pot li­cence lot­tery an­nounced by On­tario

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Canada & World -

TORONTO — On­tario has an­nounced the first 25 com­pa­nies that can ap­ply for cannabis re­tail li­cences in the prov­ince.

The Al­co­hol and Gam­ing Com­mis­sion of On­tario says Tripset­ter Inc., The Ni­a­gara Her­bal­ist and Pure Al­pha Hold­ings are among those that have been se­lected through a lot­tery.

The agency ac­cepted ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est for the li­cences ear­lier in the week, and re­ceived more than 17,000.

Of those, more than half came from sole pro­pri­etors hop­ing to open up shop, while a third came from cor­po­ra­tions.

Those se­lected have five busi­ness days to turn in their ap­pli­ca­tions along with a $6,000 non­re­fund­able fee and a $50,000 let­ter of credit.

The li­cences are be­ing di­vided re­gion­ally, with five go­ing to the east of the prov­ince, seven in the west, two in the north, six in the Greater Toronto Area and five in Toronto it­self.

Recre­ational cannabis can cur­rently only be pur­chased le­gally in On­tario through a gov­ern­ment-run web­site, with the first pri­vate stores set to open April 1.

The Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment had ini­tially said it would not put a cap on the num­ber of out­lets, but later said it would be­gin with only 25 li­cences due to what it called se­ri­ous cannabis sup­ply is­sues that had to be ad­dressed by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Caro­line Mul­roney said Fri­day that she had con­fi­dence in the re­tail li­cens­ing process led by the AGCO, which ex­tended a Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon ap­pli­ca­tion dead­line by an hour after re­ceiv­ing a flurry of last-minute ap­pli­ca­tions.

“I’m con­fi­dent,” Mul­roney said. “A fair­ness mon­i­tor was over­see­ing the process. The peo­ple who wanted to ap­ply, if they did so in the time frame, their ap­pli­ca­tion will be pro­cessed.”

The AGCO has said it can levy thou­sands in fines if ap­pli­cants who get re­tail li­cences do not open their stores on time. Fail­ing to sell pot by April 30, for ex­am­ple, would re­sult in a $25,000 fine.

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