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Fingers Crossed: Ontario Cannabis Retailers Await Fate In Licence Lottery

Expectations are mixed for what awaits the potential winners

The next phase of Ontario’s retail cannabis rollout will unfold next week as the province holds a lottery to decide which companies will be granted one of 25 available store licences.

The licences come with a wave of regulations and conditions, including the potential of having to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines if a successful company is unable to sell cannabis on April 1. 

“It’s not been ideal, obviously, but it’s difficult to criticize too strongly, either, because we do have a supply issue,” Trina Fraser, a partner at Brazeau Seller specializing in cannabis law told BNN Bloomberg, said in a phone interview.

Under the terms of the lottery, companies must submit an expression of interest and a $75 fee for a chance to win one of the 25 available retail licences on Monday and Tuesday from the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Those licences will then be divided between five defined regions in Friday’s lottery: five to the city of Toronto, an additional six to the Greater Toronto Area, five to Ontario east (which includes Peterborough, Ottawa among others), two to Northern Ontario (including Sudbury and Thunder Bay) and seven to Western Ontario (including Hamilton, Niagara and Waterloo).

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