What’s Up in Weed

November 8, 2018



By: Andrea Hill

I am pleased to bring you this instalment of my blog, rounding up what’s currently happening in the cannabis industry in Canada and abroad.

Updates on Ontario Retail Cannabis Stores

  • The Ontario Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 received royal assent on October 17, 2018, but is not yet in force.  While we await the regulations, which will provide details on the application process, we do have some updates on likely features of the application regime.
  • Anyone who wants to open a retail cannabis store in Ontario will require a cannabis retail operator licence for the operating entity and a retail store authorization for each specific store location.  Individuals who carry out management functions at each store will require a cannabis retail manager licence.
  • Based on our sources, we expect the following:
    • Applications for Ontario retail cannabis stores will open on December 17, 2018 through the website of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.  There will be no cap on the number of stores in the province.
    • There will be no first-in-first-out benefit to applying early.  Applications will advance based on merit rather than on date received.
    • Directors, officers, and shareholders holding at least 10% of the shares of an applicant will be put through background checks, including criminal record checks, in the course of an application.
    • At least a year’s worth of financial statements and possibly other documents, such as tax returns, will be required to confirm the sourcing and availability of start-up capital.
    • Distance buffers will be based only on schools, and could differ depending on whether the proposed retail store is in an urban or rural location.  The means of measuring where a “school” begins is still subject to review, since a school’s grounds can extend well beyond its physical building.
    • The application fee will be about $10,000, with renewals clocking in around $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the term of the renewal.  Cannabis retail manager licences will come with a fee of around $1,000.
    • Once an applicant has secured a retail operator licence and retail store authorization, the process may be streamlined for future applications for additional retail store authorizations.
    • Selling a dispensary to someone else will require that the purchaser undergo a new application process, which could place burdens on vendors looking to sell their businesses.  However, the retail store will be allowed to continue to operate during the purchaser’s application process.

Cannabis at the border

What’s Up in Weed is not legal or financial advice. It is a blog by SkyLaw which is made available for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice from a lawyer. This blog is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without our permission. 

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact us. The SkyLaw team would be delighted to speak with you.

© Copyright SkyLaw 2017. All rights reserved. SkyLaw is a registered trademark of SkyLaw Professional Corporation.

Subscribe to What’s Up in Weed

Click here or enter your email address below to receive our weekly blog by email: